Brazil’s Awá rely on their forest home for survival but intensive logging poses a serious threat to their future as shown here:

Survival International brings to our attention the ‘Genocide’ risk in Brazil despite UN push to end racism.

The Awá:

  • are a small tribe of around 355 people
  • have survived brutal massacres as ranchers cleared their land for cattle pasture
  • live in the eastern Amazon state of Maranhão
  • are one of the world’s last remaining nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes
    • they are one of only two nomadic hunter-gatherer tribes remaining in Brazil
  • depend on the forest for everything

Experts, including Brazil’s National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), anthropologist Awá expert, Dr Eliane Cantarino O’Dwyer, and a Brazilian Judge, concluded that ‘the Awá are facing a real situation of genocide’ inside Brazil’s Amazon, due to:

  • Their land rights being abused by illegal loggers and cattle ranchers.
    • There are now three large illegal settlements in the Awá Territory, all of which were built after the territory was officially recognised by the government in 1992.
    • Several large cattle ranches occupy significant tracts of Awá land and have already destroyed much forest.
    • The government has failed to expel and penalise the loggers, ranchers and colonists who now occupy their land.
  • Uncontacted Awá’s particular vulnerability to disease caused by these land invasions.
    • Many nomadic Awá died as they came in to contact with national society mainly from common diseases to which they had no resistance.

The Awa’s forest is facing one of the highest rates of deforestation of all indigenous areas in the Amazon.

Survival International Alert: Awá Tribe Will Face Extinction Due to Intensive Logging. © Fiona Watson/Survival

Survival International Alert: Awá Tribe Will Face Extinction Due to Intensive Logging. © Fiona Watson/Survival

Satellite images show over 30% of the rainforest in one of four territories inhabited by the Awá has already been destroyed.

‘The Awá are the world’s most threatened tribe. If their rights are not protected, they’ll only exist in the pages of history books. The UN’s call to wipe out racial discrimination is one step towards changing attitudes, and helping to keep the Awá’s forest home intact.’

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry

Please help the Awá:

Your support is vital if the Awá are to survive. There are many ways you can help.


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