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UA 285/93 - Brazil: Massacre of an estimated 40 Yanomami Indians: Yanomami village of Haximu, including at least ten children and seven women

, رقم الوثيقة: AMR 19/026/1993

There have been reports of a massacre of an estimated 40 Yanomami Indians from the Haximu village, allegedly by gold prospectors in northern Roraima state. News of the massacre reached a catholic mission in the Xidea region on 17 August 1993 after terrified members of a neighbouring village arrived to take refuge. Members of the government's indian agency FUNAI, Fundacao Nacional do Indio, investigating the massacre have subsequently interviewed survivors and visited the site on 19 August.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 19/26/93
Distr: UA/SC
UA 285/93 Massacre of an estimated 40 Yanomami Indians 20 August 1993
BRAZIL: Yanomami village of Haxumi, including at least 10 children
and seven women
Amnesty International is gravely concerned at reports of the massacre of an estimated
40 Yanomami Indians from the Haximu village allegedly by gold prospectors in northern
Roraima state near Brazil's border with Venezuela, and at persistent impunity for
increasing violent attacks on members of this tribe.
News of the massacre of some 17 Yanomami Indians from the village of Haxumi reached
a catholic mission in the Xidea region on 17 August 1993 after terrified members of
a neighbouring Yanomami village arrived to take refuge, having fled in fear of further
attacks by gold prospectors. They reported that gold miners had attacked the Haximu
village - killing 10 children, five women and at least two men, slashing arms, legs
and heads with machetes - and had set the village on fire.
Members of the government's indian agency FUNAI, Fundação Nacional do Indio,
investigating the massacre have subsequently interviewed survivors and on 19 August
reached the site of the massacre, where they encountered mutilated bodies. According
to a FUNAI spokesperson, "The number of Indians killed was much higher than believed,
about 40 were murdered. The men were gunned down while the women and children were
killed with machetes. Some of the children were decapitated".
Brazil's Minister of Justice, Mauricio Corrêa, and Attorney Federal General, Aristedes
Junqueira, flew to Roraima on 19 August accompanied by police and FUNAI officials.
The Attorney General stated on television, "I have no doubts about calling this
genocide".
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The Yanomami Indians who live in the forest on the border with Venezuela are officially
estimated to number over 9000. They are the largest of Brazil's tribal groups who
through their isolation managed to maintain their traditional way of life. 10,000
members of this tribal group live across the border in the southern part of Venezuela.
Their lands are rich in mineral resources. Following the illegal entry of thousands
of gold prospectors into Yanomami lands in 1987 some 1,500 Yanomani are estimated
to have died from violence and disease. Since 1990 there have been several government
attempts to remove illegal gold prospectors from the area and in November 1991 the
government signed a decree officially demarcating 9.4.million hectares of land as
the Yanomami Indian reserve. However there are constant reports of re-entry of
Brazilian miners into Yanomami lands both in Brazil and in Venezuela. News of the
killing at the end of July of another 5 Yanomami by miners in the same region, but
across the border in Venezuela, was also reported this week.
To Amnesty International's knowledge, of 16 cases of killings of Yanomami between
1984-92 in which police investigations were actually opened, not one has come to trial.
In 1963 an estimated 30 Ureu-wau-wau Indians including women and children were
massacred in the São Tomé rubber plantation in the western state of Rondônia. A case
brought against the plantation owner for the killings has languished in the courts
for 30 years and still has not come to trial.
In January 1993 Amnesty International published the report, `We are the Land':
Indigenous Peoples' Struggle for Human Rights AMR 19/32/92) alerting to the dangers
of escalating violence against members of Brazil's 180 indigenous groups. It
documented over 50 cases of violent attacks on members of indigenous groups in Brazil,
including the Yanomami, and called upon the Brazilian government to put a stop to
persistent impunity for such crimes, which stimulated further violence
against these groups. Amnesty International drew attention to the special
vulnerability of isolated indigenous groups and suggested that the prompt resolution
of demarcation disputes and conflicts between the indigenous and non-indigenous
population was one of the most important ways of preventing future abuses. Although
under the 1988 Constitution all indigenous lands are to be demarcated by October 1993,
since January the demarcation program has been stalled.
1993 is the United Nations Year for the World's Indigenous Peoples.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters
either in Portuguese, English or in your own language:
- expressing concern at reports of the massacre of an estimated 40 Yanomami Indians
from the Village of Haxumi in Roraima;
- calling for a full investigation of the circumstances of the killings, that those
found responsible are brought to justice and that impunity for such cases is brought
to a halt;
- urging that all steps are taken to protect the physical integrity of Yanomami Indians:
- urging that the government put an end to impunity for violent attacks against members
of Brazil's indigenous communities, which if left untackled can only lead to further
violence.
APPEALS TO
1) Head of Federal Police, Roraima:
Sr. Superintendente de Policia Federal
Sr Suami Santos
Departamento da Policia Federal
Rua Agnelo Bittercourt
69.000 Boa Vista
Roraima, Brazil
Telegrams: Superintendente de Policia Federal Santos, Roraima, Brazil
Salutation : Vossa Excelencia/Your Excellency
2) Minister of Justice:
Exmo Sr Ministro da Justiça
Sr Mauricio Corrêa
Esplanada dos Ministérios, Bloco 23
70.064 Brasília, D.F. Brazil
Telegrams: Ministro Justiça, Brasília, Brazil
Telexes: 611003 MNJU BR, 611088 MNUJ BR or 612313 MNJU BR
Faxes: +55 61 321 4145, + 55 61 224 2448
Salutation : Vossa Excelência/ Your Excellency
3) Attorney General
Exmo Sr Procurador Geral da República
Dr Aristedes Alvarenga Junqueira
Avenida L2 Sul, SG AS 603, Lote 23 s.328
Brasilia D.F., Brazil
Telegrams: Sr Procurador Geral da República, Brasilia, Brazil
Salutation : Vossa Excelência/Your Excellency
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Local non-governmental organization:
Comissão pela Criação do Parque Yanomami
R Capitão Bessa 272
S. Pedro
69.300 Boa Vista, Roraima, Brazil
National Indian Foundation offices in Reraima:
Administracad Regional de FUNAI
Rua Bento Brasil 536-E
69.301-050 Boa Vista
Roraima
and to diplomatic representatives of Brazil accredited to your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your
section office, if sending appeals after 1 October 1993.

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