Brazil’s government fires fifty commanders in indigenous areas due to humanitarian crisis

Brazilian Indian (file image). – MARCELO CHELLO / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO

The Brazilian government announced on Tuesday the dismissal of more than fifty civil servants, among them a dozen military personnel, who were working in different areas related to assistance to indigenous communities, days after the difficulties they are going through became known.

A total of 54 people have been dismissed, including eleven regional coordinators of the Indigenous Health Secretariat (SESAI), which reports to the Ministry of Health, and 43 other regional and state heads of the National Foundation of Indigenous Peoples (FUNAI), including thirteen members of the military.

Although the Ministry of Health has pointed out that these dismissals and the forthcoming nominations are a natural process in a change of government, they take place a few days after the new administration of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva denounced the «genocide» of which some of these communities had been victims, citing the Yanomami people as an example.

«More than a humanitarian crisis, what I saw in Roraima was genocide. A premeditated crime against the Yanomami, committed by a government insensitive to the suffering of the Brazilian people,» Lula wrote on his Twitter profile.

Under President Lula’s government, for the first time, SESAI and FUNAI will be led by members of these native communities. In the case of the latter organization, it will no longer depend on the Ministry of Justice and will become part of the Indigenous Peoples portfolio.

The Brazilian Government has also announced that the Federal Police is already opening an investigation into cases of omission and mismanagement that may have been committed years ago to contain and resolve the problems of the Yanomami community, whose territory is home to the largest indigenous reserve in Brazil.

The new Ministry of Indigenous Peoples has warned that this region is suffering an unprecedented humanitarian and food crisis and has estimated that at least 570 children have died from malnutrition or food contaminated by mercury, as a consequence of the invasion of illegal mining, reports G1.

The humanitarian emergency, denounce the new authorities, is a direct consequence of the cuts made by the government of Jair Bolsanaro, who is accused of having encouraged and allowed the presence of these illegal extractors of gold and other precious stones.