The IACHR extends precautionary measures in favor of 11 members of the União dos Povos Indígenas do Vale de Javari in Brazil

November 7, 2022

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) issued Resolution 59/22 on October 27, 2022, by which it extended precautionary measures in favor of members of the "União dos Povos Indígenas do Vale de Javari" (UNIVAJA) regarding Brazil.

The beneficiaries are Beto Marubo, Cristóvão Pissango Negreiros, Eliesio da Silva Vargas Marubo, Higson Dias Castelo Branco, Juliana Oliveira, Manoel Barbosa da Silva, Natália France Neves Carvalho, Orlando Possuelo, Paulo Dollis, Varney Kanamary, and Valdir Estevão Marubo. The extension corresponds to precautionary measure PM 449-22, granted at the time in favor of the indigenist Bruno Araújo Pereira and the journalist Dom Phillips following their disappearance on June 5, 2022.

According to the representatives, the members of UNIVAJA are at risk due to their work to protect the indigenous peoples of the Vale do Javari and their territory, as well as for actively participating in the search for Bruno Araújo Pereira and Dom Phillips and the demand for justice for their murders. In this context, they are reportedly being harassed and threatened with death.

The 11 members of UNIVAJA allegedly received direct threats, including threats against their families or references to their residences. The representatives reported that, although complaints had been lodged with State bodies, adequate and sufficient protection measures had not been taken.

For its part, the State reported that on June 15, 2022, after carrying out different searches, the responsible teams located the corpses of the beneficiaries Bruno Araújo Pereira and Dom Phillips. The State indicated that it maintains efforts in order to strengthen security in the Vale do Javari. On June 19, 2022, state authorities were in Tabatinga for meetings with public bodies, local authorities, and indigenous leaders. The State also indicated that the three main persons investigated for the murder of Bruno Araújo Pereira and Dom Philips are in pre-trial detention; and that steps had been taken to include UNIVAJA members in the Program for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders (PPDDH).

The Commission noted that the beneficiaries live in a context of violence and harassment that was identified at the time of granting the precautionary measures in favor of Araújo Pereira e Phillips; which includes the presence of illegal trafficking, mining, and fishing, and allegedly an increase in activities of armed groups. In addition, the IACHR considered the seriousness of the threats reported and their repetition over time, with moments of particular risk.

The IACHR appreciated the initiatives taken by the State; however, it noted that the State did not implement concrete protection measures in favor of the beneficiaries which would allow them to continue their work as defenders of human rights and the environment.

Similarly, the Commission appreciates the actions carried out to search for and locate the corpses of the indigenous activist Bruno Araújo Pereira and the journalist Dom Phillips, as well as the progress made in the investigation of these events.

Therefore, in accordance with Article 25 of its Rules of Procedure, the Commission decided to grant the extension of precautionary measure and requested that the State of Brazil:

  1. take the necessary measures to protect the lives and personal integrity of the 11 persons identified, taking into account the cultural relevance of the measures taken;
  2. take the necessary measures to ensure that beneficiaries can continue to carry out their duties as human rights defenders without being subjected to threats, harassment or acts of violence in the course of their work;
  3. consult and agree upon the measures to be adopted with the beneficiaries and their representatives; and
  4. report on the actions taken to investigate the events that led to the adoption of the precautionary measures at hand, so as to prevent such events from reoccurring.

The Commission took note of the representatives' request to create a "special monitoring team" focused on the component of investigation and non-repetition measures in PM 449-22 in favor of Bruno Araújo Pereira and Dom Phillips. It also noted and appreciated the State's willingness to integrate the mechanism, "if it includes in its activities the proposal of policies for the protection of the indigenous communities of the Javari Valley and the promotion of racial equality." For this reason, the Commission makes itself available to the parties, highlights the openness to constructive dialogue; and as a result, it decides to convene spaces for consultation, such as a working meeting, to evaluate the possibility.

The decision to grant this precautionary measure and its adoption by the State do not constitute a prejudgment of any petition filed with the inter-American system alleging violations of the rights protected in the American Convention and other applicable instruments.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote the observance and defense of human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 251/22

6:10 PM