Almost nine months after the murder of the British journalist Dom Phillips and the indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, representatives of the indigenous people and the Brazilian government have met in the Amazon region.
The aim of the meeting in the Javari Valley was to show cohesion in defending the peoples of the region, the Brazilian news agency "Agência Brasil" reported. The willingness of the newly inaugurated government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva to work for indigenous people is "an opportunity", said the indigenous minister, Sônia Guajajara.
Pereira's widow Beatriz Matos had recently taken up a post in the newly created Ministry of Indigenous Affairs. She and Phillips' widow attended the site visit.
Killed with three shots
Phillips and Pereira went missing on June 5, 2022 while traveling to the Javari Valley in western Brazil. Almost two weeks later, the federal police announced that her remains had been identified. In July, the public prosecutor's office charged several suspects, and in January 2023 the federal police reported that they had "with a high degree of probability" identified a client for the murders.
According to the Attorney General, Pereira was killed with three shots. Phillips was only killed because he happened to be there and the crime was to be covered up. As a motive, the prosecutor said that Pereira had apparently asked Phillips to photograph the defendants' boat. Pereira had previously had a conflict with one of them over illegal fishing in indigenous territory.
The Brazilian border area with Peru and Colombia is considered particularly dangerous because of the many illegal activities there. Gold prospecting, logging, fishing and hunting are often practiced without a permit, along with drug smuggling. Pereira had documented illegal activities in the Javari Valley for the authorities. He told the police that he had been threatened several times. Phillips was doing research for a book on Amazon conservation.