An Electronic +quot;Urgent Action+quot; from Amnesty International USA Amnesty Internation

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>> An Electronic "Urgent Action" from Amnesty International USA << Amnesty International is a worldwide nongovernmental movement working for the release of "prisoners of conscience" and an end to torture and executions in all nations. For info: AI UA Office, PO Box 1270, Nederland CO 80466-1270 (303) 440-0913 (9AM-5PM Mountain time, Weekdays only). Please review the information at the end of this UA. ===== UA 330/89 FEAR OF POSSIBLE EXTRAJUDICIAL 25 AUGUST 1989 EXECUTIONS BRAZIL: YANOMAMI INDIANS Amnesty International has learned of two recent incidents in which Yanomami Indians were killed by garimpeiros (mining prospectors) in the state of Roraima, and fears that many more such incidents may be occuring, in the context of the authorities' support of the advance of gold panners and mining companies into Yanomami lands. Reports of these incidents are received with difficulty from remote areas - the Yanomami are non- Portuguese speaking and have no experience of contact with the Brazilian police and judicial systems. By cultural tradition they will not divulge their names or those of their dead to strangers. In early June 1989 a Yanomami Indian was shot in the head and killed by heavily armed garimpeiros inside an indian maloca (communal hut) in the Xidea area of Roraima state, near the headwaters of the Orinoco and Mucajai rivers. This was witnessed by other Yanomamis who managed to flee, and was later reported to the federal police in Boa Vista. On 11 August 1989 two Yanomami Indians were shot dead by a group of garimpeiros near a prohibited airstrip (known as the docegeo airstrip), when they challenged the miners' illegal presence there. According to reports other Yanomami Indians have been unable to recover the bodies for funeral rites as the airstrip was guarded by heavily armed garimpeiros. This was reported to the military detatchment at the Surucucus Indigenous Post on 15 August, but there has been no news of whether any action was taken by the authorities. Amnesty International has repeatedly called upon the Brazilian authorities to investigate other such killings which have taken place in the context of a massive illegal influx of mining prospectors into Yanomami territory. Yet little action has been taken to prosecute miners assaulting Yanomami Indians or to remove them from Indian territory which is protected under the constitution. On the contrary, when disturbing reports first began to emerge about violent clashes between miners armed with rifles and Indians in the Surucucus area in August 1987 the government's response was to order the removal of missionaries, anthropologists and medical teams working with the Yanomami. Little attempt was made to remove the miners. The Yanomami area was virtually sealed off, thereby preventing an independent assessment of what was happening. Nevertheless reports of violence continued and several cases were brought to the attention of the authorities. Having failed to carry out promises to remove the miners from Yanomami lands, the government has proposed legislation in Congress to give mining operations legal status on these lands. As in many cases involving killings of peasant small-holders in land disputes, Amnesty International has concluded that the authorities' denial of protection to the Yanomami and failure to prosecute could represent official acquiescence in such killings and in the violent removal of those occupying land of commercial value without basis in law. Background information The Yanomami, who live in the forest on the border with Venezuela, were in 1988 officially estimated to number over 9,000. They are the largest of Brazil's tribal groups who through their isolation have maintained their traditional way of life. A further 10,000 of this tribal group live across the border in the southern part of Venezuela. Their lands are reported to be rich in mineral resources. Since a new rush of gold miners entered Yanomami lands illegally in 1987 the level of disease among this tribal group has increased substantially. Reports from the Xidea and Paapiu regions in july 1989 indicated that many Yanomami malocas had been abandoned, and that due to disease there were no remaining children in some communities. The government's removal of independent observers from the Yanomami area - including health care teams - has both obstructed human rights reporting to the outside world and, by denying them the assistance of medical personnel formerly working with them, further exposed the Yanomami communities to the dangers of disease to which they have little resistance. Recommended action: Please send courteously worded airmail letters and telegrams to the authorities below : - asking for information about the progress of criminal investigations into: (a) the killing of a Yanomami Indian inside a maloca in the Xidea area, Roraima, in early June 1989 and (b) the killing of two Yanomami Indians from the Hakomatheri group at the Docegeo airstrip near the Sucurucus Indian post, Roraima, on 11 August 1989: - asking what measures the state or federal authorities are taking to ensure the physical safety of the Yanomami in compliance with their obligations under the Brazilian constitution. Appeals to: [suggested salutation] Sr Procurador Geral da Republica [Your Excellency] Sr Aristedes Junqueira Alvarenga Procuradoria Geral da Republica Ed Sede da Pgr Av 12 Aul Q 603, Lote 23 70.200 Brasilia DF, Brazil (Attorney General, with Responsibility for Indians) Telegrams: Procuradoria Geral, Brasilia, Brazil Sr. Ministro da Justica [Your Excellency] Sr. Saulo Ramos Ministerio da Justica Esplanada dos Ministerios 70.064 Brasilia DF, Brazil (Minister of Justice) Telegrams: Ministro Justica, Brasilia, Brasil Telexes: 61 1088 mnju br Sr. Romeu Tuma [Dear Director General] Diretor Geral Departamento de Policia Federal Sas 06, Lotes 9 e 10, Ed Sede Dpf 70.070 Brasilia DF, Brazil (Head of Federal Police) (Federal police have responsibility for protecting Indians) Telegrams: Diretor Geral, Policia Federal, Brasilia, Brazil Telexes: 61 1461 Sr Pedro de Oliveira [Dear President] Presidente Fundacao Nacional do Indio Ministerio do Interior Esplanada dos Ministerios 70.054 Brasilia DF, Brazil (President of the Government Indian Agency) Telegrams: funai, min, mininterior, Brasilia, Brazil Copies to: Comissao Criacao Parque Yanomami Rua Manoel Nobrega 111, Cont 32 04001 04001 Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil (Commission for a Yanomami Park) Correio Braziliense Sig Qd 2 Lotes 300/350 70610 Brasilia DF, Brazil (Newspaper) Ambassador Marcilio Marques Moreira Brazilian Embassy 3006 Massachusetts Ave NW Washington DC 20008 Please send appeals immediately. Check with the Colorado office, if sending appeals after 6 October 1989. About sending telexes: Telex numbers are the "telephone numbers" of the telex network. To send a telex you must either prefix a country code to the telex number, or indicate the country of destination, depending on the telex service you use. The "answerback" letters are what the destination telex should say when it "picks up the phone". Please use it if your telex system offers the option, but note that your message *can* be sent without it. Answerbacks prevent delivery of messages to "wrong numbers". ===== Direct posting from the aiusa urgent action office to your computer system/address allows us to report updates and remove finished actions continuously, which these types of appeals regularly need. Please contact us about opportunities to extend the online network. Please do not electronically re-post uas otherwise. Thank you. For information about writing UAs, check for related UA documents on your information service, or request a folder from the UA office. Other general and membership information on AI is available from AIUSA, 322 8th Ave, NYC, NY 10001. You can start a UA letterwriting group; contact us for details. UAs are available in the USA on many information services. Check our list in the introductory information to find your most convenient source.


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