At least 76 indigenous people were murdered in 2007 in Brazil. This was the figure calculated in a preliminary survey carried out by the Brazilian Indianist Missionary Council (Cimi). As compared to the figures registered in 2006 (48), there was an increase of 63%.
Of all the homicides registered last year, 48 took place in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul. The state with the second highest number of murders is Pernambuco, where 8 indigenous people were murdered.
The number of murders in 2007 was the highest recorded by Cimi since 1988, when the entity began to prepare the Report on Violence against Indigenous Peoples in Brazil.
In April, Cimi will release this report together with some data on violations of indigenous peoples' rights in 2006 and 2007. This study will present figures on threats, attempts of murder, deaths caused by lack of assistance (suicide, lack of medical treatment…), invasions of indigenous lands, and on other facts of a similar nature.
It will also analyze the increasing violence against indigenous peoples. This survey will be based on information provided by indigenous communities and on information published in newspapers from all over the country.
The number of murders in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul grew by almost 150% as compared to the data registered in 2006 (20). Cimi still believes that the main reason for this increasing violence is the confinement imposed on indigenous people who live in the state, mainly the Guarani people.
This can be confirmed when we analyze that of the 48 murders occurred in the state, 14 took place in the municipality of Dourados, which is characterized by the highest concentration of indigenous people per hectare.
The cases registered in 2007 also reveal that murders resulting from conflicts with large farmers still prevail. Two indigenous leaders from the same Guarani group were murdered last year as they were trying to reoccupy their land (Kurussu Ambá).
In January, faith healer Xurete Lopes, 70, was murdered by private security guards during the reoccupation of an indigenous land. Ortiz Lopes, from the same group, was murdered in front of his shack in July and, according to witnesses, a farmer hired gunmen to kill him.
On the other hand, no indigenous area was declared an indigenous land for the Guarani people in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul in 2007, despite the promises made by the National Foundation for Indigenous People (Funai) in recent years that they would be given special attention because of the serious situation they are facing.
Early in 2008, Cimi reaffirmed its evaluation published in the Social Network's Human Rights Report. "It is difficult to understand why this cruel process of exterminating all indigenous people continues in front of the eyes of the national society, of federal and state governments, of the institutions of the Republic, and of the official Indigenist agency, without any effective measures being taken to stop it."