Forests

British actor Mark Rylance voices support for the Kawahiva

The hunter-gatherer tribe of the Amazon rainforest is threatened by loggers, miners and powerful ranchers who steal their land and resources

 
By DTE Staff
Last Updated: Wednesday 07 October 2015

British actor Mark Rylance and Survival International, a movement for the rights of tribal people, have joined hands in a new campaign to save the Kawahiva, a hunter-gatherer tribe in the Amazon rainforests of Brazil.

"If the Kawahiva’s land is not protected, they will disappear forever. But if Brazil’s government acts fast, they can survive," Rylance said in a video featuring the tribe. "We must not let another part of humanity’s rich diversity fade into history," he added.

The Kawahiva territory—Rio Pardo in the Mato Grosso state—is constantly invaded by loggers, miners and powerful ranchers who steal their land and resources, according to a release by Survival International. Between 2000 and 2011, 4,139 hectares of forest were destroyed by "illegal invasions". As many tribesfolk have been killed, the Kawahiva wish to remain uncontacted.

According to the Brazilian constitution, the land belonging to the Kawahiva should have been mapped and protected as an indigenous territory by 1993. A decree calling for the implementation of this has been lying on the desk of the Minister of Justice (MoJ) since 2013, says Survival International as it calls for the MoJ to sign the petition.

The organisation's director, Stephen Corry, said, "The continued survival of the Kawahiva enriches all of us. Not only because they represent a unique interpretation of what it means to be human, but because defending their land rights also protects the future of the Amazon. If we can protect their forest for them, they will protect nature, for us all."

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