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Photo courtesy of Earth Watch

‘We are on the eve of a genocide’: Brazil urged to save Amazon tribes from Covid-19

The Guardian 3 May 2020

Tom Phillips

Brazil’s leaders must take immediate action to save the country’s indigenous peoples from a Covid-19 “genocide”, a global coalition of artists, celebrities, scientists and intellectuals has said.

In an open letter to the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsonaro, figures including Madonna, Oprah Winfrey, Brad Pitt, David Hockney and Paul McCartney warned the pandemic meant indigenous communities in the Amazon faced “an extreme threat to their very survival”.

“Five centuries ago, these ethnic groups were decimated by diseases brought by European colonisers … Now, with this new scourge spreading rapidly across Brazil … [they] may disappear completely since they have no means of combating Covid-19,” they wrote.

The organiser of the petition, the Brazilian photojournalist Sebastião Salgado, said trespassers including wildcat gold miners and illegal loggers must be expelled immediately from indigenous lands to stop them importing an illness that has killed more than 240,000 people around the world, including 6,750 in Brazil.

To read more visit The Guardian