Murders of indigenous people up sharply in Brazil

20 Jun 2015 / 17:21 H.

    BRASÍLIA: Murders of indigenous people rose sharply in Brazil last year with 138 Indians killed, a rights group said Friday, warning they were also committing suicide in growing numbers.
    The numbers of Indians murdered increased by 42% in 2014 compared to 2013, the Indigenous Missionary Council, tied to the Catholic Church, said in its annual report.
    The report denounced the lack of medical assistance and rights for the country's indigenous population, while recording 135 Indian suicides, the highest yearly number in the past 29 years.
    "We cannot establish the causes but we can see the connections: there is lots of racism and rejection by the urban population," anthropologist Lucia Rangel from the missionary organisation told AFP.
    Infant mortality for indigenous people, or Indians, already many times higher than the national average in Brazil, increased 13% compared to the previous year.
    The report took a highly critical view of government policies, saying Brazil hasn't fulfilled a main demand of the minority group: demarcated indigenous territories.
    There are some 890,000 Indians in Brazil, which has a total population of about 202 million. Their lands occupy 12% of the country's territory, largely in the Amazon interior.
    Many of the indigenous groups are under pressure from agriculture and foresting groups pushing into areas where they live. – AFP

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