Note on the disappearance of Bruno Araújo Pereira and Dom Phillips

07 junho 2022

It is imperative that the authorities do everything possible to find them as soon as possible

By WWF-Brasil 

WWF-Brazil expresses deep concern about the disappearance of Brazilian indigenist Bruno Araújo Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips, long-time reporting for The Guardian in Brazil. Both are missing since last Sunday (June 5ht) in a far west region of the Amazon state (Vale do Javari) where conflicts are raising, fueled by illegal mining, hunting and fishing, with the presence of organized crime linked to drug trafficking - which makes the situation even more worrying. In a note, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Brazil admitted the hypothesis of crime.
We sympathize with the families and friends of the two professionals and hope that the Brazilian government mobilizes all possible human and technical resources in the search and locates Pereira and Phillips as soon as possible. A rigorous and landmark investigation is needed as reference in the fight against impunity in this region, that is taken by criminals.
Unfortunately, that is not what we have seen so far. When the journalist and the indigenist had been missing for more than 24 hours, the Military Command of the Amazon (CMA) published a press release declaring that the agency "is in a position to carry out a humanitarian search and rescue mission, as it has done throughout of its history, however the actions will be initiated upon activation by the Upper Echelon". The Union of Indigenous Peoples of Vale do Javari (Univaja) and the Federal Public Defender's Office (DPU) had to appeal to the federal court asking the government to promote greater efforts to locate them, including the use of helicopters to assist in the search. Although the Federal Police and the Brazilian Navy are now investigating the case and the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) has called on the National Force and the Civil Police to participate in the search, the Brazilian government took a long time to act, in a context in which a quick action is absolutely essential.
We still don't know what happened to Phillps and Pereira, but it is imperative that the authorities do everything possible to find them as soon as possible. The Amazon is becoming a lawless land and this cannot continue.