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Brazil: Bishops on killing of indigenous leader, “eliminate discrimination, overcome processes of destruction and exploitation”

The Presidency of the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference expressed “concern over the circumstances surrounding the death of tribal leader Wajãpi, in the State of Amapá, on 24 July”. This is according to a statement released by the Presidency of the Bishops of Brazil. The statement follows other ecclesial reactions in the wake of the murder, last weekend, in the State of Amapá, of Emira Wajãpi, the indigenous leader of the Wajãpi people, by a gang of about 50 garampeiros (gold and precious stones diggers), who had invaded the indigenous reservation. Indeed, the statement by the Presidency of the Bishops’ Conference of Brazil (CNBB) comes after other statements by the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) and the Pastoral Commission of the Earth (CPT). The Bishops’ Conference “is following closely the growing and deepening socio-environmental crisis that is lethal to the peoples of the Amazon, particularly indigenous peoples”, the CNBB pointed out, noting that what has happened corroborates what the Brazilian Bishops had written in a message on the occasion of their 57th General Assembly in May this year: “We should be a nation of brothers and sisters, and eliminate all forms of discrimination, prejudice and hatred. We are responsible for one another”. The Bishops invited to look for “ways to overcome the potentially lethal processes of destruction and exploitation that are threatening our common home and violating the fundamental human rights of the population”. “Indeed, there is a need to tackle unbridled exploitation and build a new time, God’s and man’s time, in the Amazon”. Finally, the Brazilian Bishops said they would “step up their commitment to the promotion and protection of life in all its forms and expressions, including respect for creation from the point of view of an integral ecology”. Also the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM) of Brazil expressed “sadness and grief” in a statement, as well as “indignation that our brothers and sisters are swept away by a political and economic project that does not take into account human life and dignity”.

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