Last update:
2020-01-11

Illegal gold mining and poaching in Vale do Javari Indigenous Territory, Amazonas, Brazil

With the politically motivated stoppage of monitoring and rights protection, extractive invasions in Vale do Javari are on the rise leading to killings of indigenous isolated communities and environmental defenders.


Description:

TI Vale do Javari is Brazil’s second largest indigenous territory and located in the far-west of the state of Amazonas at the border with Peru. Ecologically well preserved, it is home to about 6,000 people of eight indigenous groups, including the Kanamari, Korubo, Marubo, Matís and Matsés  groups, as well as at least 18 isolated indigenous tribes (out of 110 in entire Brazil), making Javari the area with the worldwide largest concentration of isolated indigenous people. “Isolation” has to be seen in relative terms, as groups often chose isolation as a political strategy and way to survive after the previous contact with “outsiders”. In fact, the Javari area looks back on a long history of violent invasions, starting with rubber tappers in the 19th century and newer forms of extractive activities during the last decades. While communities were granted exclusive territorial rights through Brazil’s 1988 constitution and the demarcation of the indigenous territory in 2001 and isolated tribes should moreover receive special protection from the Coordenação-Geral de Índios Isolados e Recém-Contatados (CGIIRC; a sub-body of the indigenous agency FUNAI), there has recently been a new increase in illegal gold prospecting and poaching along with an escalation of violence. [1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Illegal gold mining and poaching in Vale do Javari Indigenous Territory, Amazonas, Brazil
Country:Brazil
State or province:Amazonas
Location of conflict:Terra Indígena Vale do Javari
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Oil and gas exploration and extraction
Land acquisition conflicts
Deforestation
Mineral ore exploration
Logging and non timber extraction
Specific commodities:Land
Live Animals
Timber
Gold
Crude oil
Natural Gas
Fish
Project Details and Actors
Project details

This conflict is both a politically and economically motivated "project", as the weakening of socio-environmental institutions and an associated cease of protection of indigenous territorial rights are in the interest of strong economic lobbies and have incentivized the advancing of the extractivist frontier.

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Project area:8,544,400 ha
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:~6,000
Start of the conflict:2009
Relevant government actors:FUNAI & Coordenação Geral de Índios Isolados e Recém-Contatados of Vale do Javari & Frente de Proteção Etnoambiental do Vale do Javari
IBAMA & Federal Police
Federal Public Ministry (MPF)
Agência Nacional de Petróleo, Gás e Biocombustíveis (ANP)
Secretaria Especial de Saúde Indígena (Sesai)
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:União dos Povos Indígenas do Vale do Javari (UNIVAJA)
Associação Kanamary do Vale do Javari (AKAVAJA)
Organização das Aldeias Marubo do Rio Ituí (OAMI)
Associação Indígena Matis (AIMA)
Organização Geral Mayoruna (OGM)
Indigenistas Associados (INA)
Organización Regional de los Pueblos Indígenas del Oriente (ORPIO)
Centro de Trabalho Indigenista (CTI)
Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (APIB)
Coordenação das Organizações Indígenas da Amazônia Brasileira (COIAB)
Coordenação das Organizações e Povos Indígenas do Amazonas (Coipam)
Organización Regional de los Pueblos Indígenas del Oriente (ORPIO)
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR)
Centro de Trabalho Indigenista (CTI)
Instituto Socioambiental
Survival International
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Indigenous groups or traditional communities
International ejos
Local ejos
Social movements
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Matís, Kanamari, Marubo, Matsés indigenous communities
Forms of mobilization:Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Development of alternative proposals
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Threats to use arms
Occupation of buildings/public spaces
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Soil erosion, Oil spills, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity
Health ImpactsVisible: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Infectious diseases, Deaths
Potential: Malnutrition, Occupational disease and accidents
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Potential: Displacement, Land dispossession
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Deaths, Assassinations, Murders
Institutional changes
Migration/displacement
Violent targeting of activists
Development of alternatives:Indigenous groups in Vale do Javari demand the stop of all socio-environmentally harmful extractivism and want better protection from threats of violent invaders. Various groups as well as the united indigenous movement of Javari, UNIVAJA, have been struggling for indigenous rights over decades and continue demanding more autonomy in making decisions about their way of life and relations to capitalist society as well as more inclusion into the management of the territory, e.g. when it comes to participating in monitoring activities and establishing dialogue with “isolated” tribes. [3]
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:TI Vale do Javari has become one of the hotspots of illegal extractivism in Brazil's Western Amazon, with poaching and gold prospecting activities being particularly problematic and closely linked to drug trafficking. Violence and threats against vulnerable indigenous communities have significantly increased and are now also directed against environmental defenders. Despite several police operations against miners and hunters, there seems to be no systematic response against violent invasions. Instead, indigenous and environmental protection is systematically jeopardized through a politics of unprotection, manifesting in budget cuts, institutional restructuring and an increasingly anti-indigenous and anti-environmental political discourse that incentivizes and legitimizes invasions.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Vaz, A. (2011): Isolados no Brasil. Política de Estado: da tutela para a política de direitos – uma questão resolvida? Informe 10, IWGIA.
[click to view]

Vaz, A. (2011): Isolados no Brasil. Política de Estado: da tutela para a política de direitos – uma questão resolvida? Informe 10, IWGIA.
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

[2] Globo G1 (2019): Garimpo ilegal próximo a indígenas isolados é desmobilizado durante operação no Amazonas. 13.09.2019. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[4] Honório, A. (2019): Índios “Isolados”. Jusbrasil. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[3] Nakamura, R. (2015): Vale do Javari: the highest concentration of isolated indigenous peoples in the world. Bulletin Povos Isolados na Amazônia, 09.12.2015. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[5] Milanez, F. (2019): Assassinato de indigenista da Funai na Amazônia precisa de investigação federal. Midia Ninja, 08.09.2019. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[6] Farias, E. (2017): MPF pede investigação de denúncia de massacre de índios isolados do Vale do Javari. Amazônia Real, 29.08.2017. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[42] Brasil, K.; Farias, E. (2016): Vale do Javari: Doenças e mudança de aldeia podem ter causado um “choque” entre Korubo e Matís. Amazônia Real, 22.02.2016. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[43] Instituto Socioambiental (2018): Índios isolados. 20.07.2018. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[8] Farias, E. (2019): Povo Kanamari vive o drama do luto permanente. Amazônia Real, 11.02.2019.(Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[38] APIB Blog (2011): Vale do Javari: Lideranças ocupam FUNAI. 11.11.2011. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[39] Rosha, J. (2019): Indígenas ocupam sede do DSEI em Manaus em protesto contra a municipalização da saúde. CIMI, 27.03.2019. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[10] Rosha, J. (2019): Garimpeiros ameaçam indígenas no Vale do Javari. CIMI, 18.06.2019. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[28] FUNAI (2017): Operação do Exército e Funai no Vale do Javari destrói garimpo ilegal e inicia a reconstrução da base do órgão indigenista no rio Jandiatuba. 06.12.2017. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[19] Farias, E. (2018): Base de proteção da Funai a índios isolados no Vale do Javari, no Amazonas, é atacada a tiros por invasores. Amazônia Real, 23.12.2018. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[17a] Tigueiro, P. (2019): Invasores ameaçam matar mais indígenas no Vale do Javari, no Am. Portal Marcela Rosa, 28.09.2019. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[8] Farias, E. (2019): Povo Kanamari vive o drama do luto permanente. Amazônia Real, 11.02.2019.(Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[41] Nakamura, R. (2016): Resistência Matsés vence interesses de empresa petrolífera. Povos Isolados na Amazônia , 20.12.2016. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[1] Revista IHU On-line (2017): O inaceitável massacre de indígenas isolados no Vale do Javari. 13.09.2017. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[11] CTI (2019): AKAVAJA denuncia garimpo ilegal na TI Vale do Javari. 13.06.2019. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[14] Farias, E. (2017): Garimpeiros mataram índios “flecheiros” no Vale do Javari, confirma MPF do Amazonas. Amazônia Real, 11.09.2017. Retrieved from Portal Revista IHU On-line. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[15] Carta Capital (2017): MPF suspeita de massacre de indígenas no Amazonas. 08.09.2017. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[13] Phillips, D. (2018): A massacre of Amazon tribespeople? The search for evidence goes on. The Guardian, 22.08.2018. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[18] Hass, E. (2017): MPF investiga massacre de índios isolados na Amazônia. Folha de S.Paulo, 14.09.2017. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[20] FUNAI (2018): Presidente da Funai solicita reforço do Exército após ataque à base do Vale do Javari. 24.12.2018. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[21] Maissonnave, F. (2019): Colaborador da Funai é assassinado em área marcada por conflitos no AM. Folha de S.Paulo, 07.09.2019. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[22] FOIRN (2017): Nota Pública da Foirn (Federação das Organizações Indígenas do Rio Negro) sobre denúncia de massacre de índios isolados no Vale do Javari (AM). 13.09.2017. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[24] Indigenistas Associados (2019): Nota Pública – Assassinato de indigenista no extremo oeste do Amazonas. 08.09.2019. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[29] FUNAI (2018): Ações da Funai, Exército e comunidades indígenas repreendem atuação de criminosos no Vale do Javari. 04.09.2018. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[33] APIB (2017): Nota de repúdio contra o masacre do Vale do Javari. 12.09.2017. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[34] Barros, C. (2019): Operando com 10% do orçamento, Funai abandona postos e coordenações em áreas indígenas. A Publica, 25.03.2019. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[9] Instituto Socioambiental (2017): Isolated indigenous peoples are being massacred in Brazil. Here's why. 15.09.2017. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[12] Almeida, R. (2009): Garimpeiros ecapuzados atuam no rio Boia, no Amazonas. Estadão, 20.12.2009. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[23] Borges, A. (2019): Coordenador de setor de índios isolados da Funai no AM pede demissão. Estadão, 07.10.2019. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[27] Globo G1 (2017): Exército e Funai destroem garimpo ilegal no Vale do Javari no AM. 09.12.2017. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[31] Mídia Ninja (2019): Em nota, Unijava denuncia ataques e falta de proteção da Terra Indígena no Vale do Javari. 10.11.2019.
[click to view]

[25] Prazeres, L. (2019): Amazonas: Após ataques, servidores da Funai abandonam base e índios isolados ficam sem proteção. O Globo, 22.11.2019.
[click to view]

[26] A Críticia (2019): Justiça multa União por não proteger indígenas do Vale do Javari, no AM. 29.11.2019.
[click to view]

[7] Pedroso, R. (2019): A onda de ataques que opõe indígenas a caçadores ilegais no território com mais povos isolados do país. BBC Brasil, 12.11.2019.
[click to view]

[36] Loebens, F. (2018): Matsés exigem dos governos do Brasil e Peru paralisação da exploração de petróleo e respeito aos isolados. CIMI, 21.06.2018. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[17b] Farias, E. (2019): Lideranças do Vale do Javari denunciam invasão de missionário norte-americano à terra indígena onde há povos isolados. Amazônia Real, 29.10.2019.
[click to view]

[35] Maisonnave, F. (2017): Crise na Funai fecha 5 bases de proteção a índios isolados. Folha de S.Paulo, 21.04.2017. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[40] Blog do Luar (2016): Após expulsão do coordenador regional da FUNAI a ocupacão permanece no Vale do Javari em Atalaia do Norte. 12.02.2016. (Online, last accessed: 05.10.2019)
[click to view]

[16] Borges, A. (2017): Na trilha dos cartuchos. O Estadão. (Online, last accessed: 25.12.2019)
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

[34b] Estadão (2017): BASES DE FISCALIZAÇÃO EM ESTADO DE ABANDONO.
[click to view]

[34b] Estadão (2017): BASES DE FISCALIZAÇÃO EM ESTADO DE ABANDONO.
[click to view]

Other documents

"We fight until the end" - groups from javari protesting in Manaus (Cristina Alejandra Larrain)
[click to view]

Burned down dredge during a police operation against illegal mining (Ibama)
[click to view]

A protest of the Matís group in 2016 (Blog do Luar Satere)
[click to view]

Map showing officially recognized isolated tribes in the Brazilian Amazon (CTI 2018)
[click to view]

An abandoned ethnoenvironmental protection base in Javari (Antenor Vaz; Source: Medium)
[click to view]

Indigenous defender and FUNAI protection guard Maxciel Pereira dos Santos, assassinated in September 2019 (Clasco)
[click to view]

Occupation by the Matís group of the FUNAI headquarter in Atalaia do Norte, 2016 (Marke Turu Matis)
[click to view]

Map showing FUNAI bases in TI Vale do Javari (Source: Amazonia.org)
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EnvJustice Project (MS)
Last update11/01/2020
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