AMERICA/BRAZIL - The situation of indigenous peoples arouses "holy indignation" in the hearts of all, especially Christians

Wednesday, 1 February 2023 indigenous   human rights   local churches  


Brasilia (Agenzia Fides) - The Brazilian Bishops' Conference (CNBB) asks the authorities for "adequate treatment dedicated to the Yanomami people and to all indigenous communities present in Brazilian territory. Given the seriousness of what is happening in the north of the country, the deaths, especially of children and the elderly, those responsible must be identified so that justice prevails. The genocide of the Yanomami is a chapter that will never be forgotten in the history of Brazil, that a similar crime against the lives of our brothers and sisters should not be repeated".
The Note from the CNBB Presidency published yesterday, entitled "In Defense of the Original Peoples," is motivated by the dramatic situation that the Yanomami people are experiencing (see Fides, 30/1/2023). It the first place, it is recalled that the lack of respect for the rights of indigenous peoples, which has worsened in recent years, "has been denounced by the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) in its annual report," so the reality experienced by the Yanomami people is a summary of what the CIMI report presents. "The original peoples, integrated into nature, have been obstinately despised by greed, by the predatory exploitation of the environment, which spreads death in the name of money."
The bishops point out that this situation should arouse "holy indignation" in the hearts of every person, especially Christians. "Life must be effectively defended, not only at a specific stage, but throughout its entire course. And the defense of human life is inseparable from caring for the environment."
The Catholic Church of Brazil reiterates its closeness and solidarity with the Yanomami people, through its network of faith communities. "The pains of each indigenous person are also those of the Church, which according to her doctrine, the teaching of Pope Francis, teaches the importance of native peoples in the conservation of the planet," the note highlights. Despite the "moment of sadness and desolation", the Church "will continue working, increasingly intensifying its actions, in union with many realities of society and public power, so that hope prevails, confident that each Yanomami will be respected in his dignity as son and daughter of God."
"The emergency experienced by the Yanomami people, who have gained great visibility in recent days, is a consequence of the invasion of their territory by thousands of searchers who carry out illegal activities associated with criminal groups," explains the diocesan administrator of the diocese of Roraima, Father Lucius Nicoletto, among the information released on the matter by the Bishops' Conference. The actions of these groups have caused a general lack of health care, environmental devastation, the impact on indigenous communities of some 30,000 people (between 11,000 and 13,000 affected by the humanitarian crisis) and the collapse of the health system, which has led to the federal government to declare a public health emergency on Yanomami territory.
Cardinal Leonardo Steiner, Archbishop of Manaus and Vice President of the Bishops' Conference of the Amazon, traveled yesterday to Boa Vista, capital of the State of Roraima, to express on behalf of Pope Francis and the Presidency of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB), his solidarity with the Yanomami people. The objective is also to meet with the indigenous leaders to dialogue, listen, in order to evaluate an even greater presence of the Church.
The CNBB has sent, with the contribution of Adveniat, the sum of R$ 350, 000.00 for humanitarian and emergency aid to the Yanomami people. The resources, which will be administered by the diocese of Roraima, are intended to help provide food, medicine, clothing, materials to support the economy of the communities and displaced persons, and air and ground transportation. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 1/2/2023)