By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – The Brazilian National Indian Foundation (Funai) announced on Monday that it requested the presence of Brazil’s Military Police and Army working in the Amazon region after armed men attacked a base designated to protect isolated indigenous communities in the Vale do Javari, in the western part of Amazonas state, near the Peruvian border.
“FUNAI reports invaders exchanged gunshots with the police and targeted a FUNAI boat, putting indigenous, FUNAI employees and police at risk,” said the statement issued by the foundation.
According to FUNAI, this particular indigenous land has the largest number of isolated indigenous peoples in the region. Acknowledging that some indigenous tribes do not want interaction with the outside world, FUNAI and the Brazilian government stated that they only seek contact when the survival of these groups is severely threatened.
The land in Vale do Javari is home to such groups as the Korubos and Flecheiros, and is also the Marubo, Kulina, Kanamari, Mayrouna and the Tsohom Dyapá groups, all of whom have recently been contacted by Brazilian authorities.
In June this year, representatives from NGO that work with indigenous and twenty seven indigenous peoples from Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela participated in Brasilia of the II International Meeting on Policies to Protect Isolated and Semi-Isolated Indigenous Peoples.
The group approved a document in which they acknowledged ‘setbacks’ with regard to the guarantees of the rights of indigenous peoples in Latin America. According to this group these setbacks have had particularly serious effects on the isolated tribes and those groups recently contacted in the Amazon Basin.