Lula accuses Bolsonaro of 'genocide' of Yanomami
Brazil's government declared a public health emergency on Jan. 20 for the Yanomami indigenous people, now plagued by rising death rates from malnutrition and curable diseases such as malaria, flu and diarrhoea. President Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva flew to the remote Yanomami territory in Roraima state after horrifying photographs emerged of emaciated Yanomami children and adults. The trip coincided with an an emergency airlift of 16 starving Yanomami to receive urgent treatment. After his visit, Lula tweeted: "More than a humanitarian crisis, what I saw in Roraima was genocide: a premeditated crime against the Yanomami, committed by a government insensitive to suffering."
Armenia detains anti-Russia protesters
At least 65 protesters were arrested in Armenia's second city of Gyumri on Jan. 8 as authorities dispersed a rally outside a Russian military base. Activists were demanding that Yerevan cut ties with Moscow amid a deepening stand-off with Azerbaijan over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh. A livestream of the rally showed demonstrators struggling with police officers, including troops from the notorious Red Berets anti-riot squad, while crowds chanted slogans calling for Armenia's withdrawal from the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Armenia, unlike rival Azerbaijan, is a CSTO member. But the military alliance has drawn popular ire as Russian "peacekeepers" have failed to re-open the Lachin Corridor, the only access in or out of Nagorno-Karabakh, which has been closed by Azerbaijan for almost a month—leaving 100,000 ethnic Armenians trapped, with supplies of food and medicine running low. (Eurasianet)
'Law of Genocide' introduced in Peru
In the midst of the political crisis gripping Peru, reactionary elements in the country's Congress have launched an initiative to repeal the 2006 law establishing reserves to protect isolated indigenous peoples in the Amazon rainforest. AIDESEP, Peru's trans-Amazonian indigenous alliance, is calling Law Project 3518/2022-CR the "Law of PIACI Genocide"—a reference to the Spanish acronym for Indigenous Peoples in Isolation or Initial Contact. The AIDESEP statement also charges that the congressional Commission on Decentralization & Regionalization submitted the bill on Dec. 14 without first seeking clearance from the Commission on Andean & Amazonian Peoples, which holds first authority in the matter.
Protests as US troop mission approved for Peru
Peru's Congress last month, at the behest of President Pedro Castillo's government, voted to approve the entry of US military troops for participation in several weeks of anti-drug and anti-terrorism operations. But the Aug. 4 vote was protested by voices within Castillo's own Partido Perú Libre (PPL), with legislator Kelly Portalatino calling it a "sign of submission." (Prensa Latina) A previous such US troop mission in 2015 saw operations in the Valley of the Apurímac and Ene Rivers (VRAE), a key coca cultivation zone. Campesinos of the VRAE Federation of Agrarian Producers (FEPAVRAE) have just announced a region-wide indefinite paro (civil strike) to begin Oct. 5 in protest of ongoing government coca-eradication campaigns. (Sputnik)
Indigenous leader slain in Venezuelan Amazon
A Venezuelan indigenous leader who fought against incursions by Colombian armed groups and outlaw gold miners into the country's southern rainforest was shot dead on June 30 in the Escondido 3 sector of Puerto Ayacucho municipality, capital of Amazonas state. Virgilio Trujillo Arana, a member of the Uwottujja indigenous people, was the leading force in the creation of the Sipapo Territorial Guards in Autana municipality, Amazonas. The Territorial Guard patrols were launched with support from the Amazonas Indigenous Peoples' Regional Organization (ORPIA).
Wagner Group named in massacres on Sudan-CAR borderlands
Russian mercenaries are accused of carrying out a series of deadly attacks on artisanal miners in the lawless border zone between Sudan and the Central African Republic, in an apparent effort to establish dominance over outlaw gold mining operations with allied paramilitary factions. Dozens of local miners are said to have been killed in at least three major attacks on their encampments this year, allegedly involving mercenaries working for the Kremlin-linked Wagner Group.
Protest closing of ICC Colombia investigation
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) on June 2 released its 2021 Annual Report, revealing that Colombia only partially adopted necessary measures to prevent human rights violations both by its security forces and unofficial paramilitary groups. The report called on Colombia to: "Adopt the appropriate measures for the members of the security forces who are allegedly involved in cases of violations of human rights or IHL [international humanitarian law] to be suspended from active duty until a final decision is issued in the disciplinary or criminal proceedings in such cases." Noting "the reorganization and persistence of illegal armed groups on its territory," the report also called on Colombia to "dismantle the armed groups that emerged after the demobilization of the paramilitary organizations or that continue to pursue the same objectives." (Jurist, June 5)
Sahel: deadly violence in mining sector
At least two were killed May 24 as security forces clashed with protesting gold miners at Burkina Faso's western Houndé commune, Tuy province. The protesters were demanding the release of 12 of their comrades who had been arrested a week earlier, when informal miners angered by government moves to expel their camps overran and ransacked the facilities of Houndé Gold Operation, a subsidiary of the UK-based multinational Endeavour Mining. (AfricaNews, AFP) Rescue workers meanwhile recovered the bodies of four miners who had gone missing after floodwaters submerged a zinc mine operated by Canada's Trevali Mining at Perkoa, in nearby Sanguié province. (CNN, BBC News Gahuza)
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