Brazil to investigate cases of omission in containing the humanitarian crisis of the Yanomami community

Nio of the Yanomami indigenous community (file image). – MCT / ZUMA PRESS / CONTACTOPHOTO

Brazil’s Minister of Justice, Flávio Dino, has announced that the Federal Police will investigate the possible omission of public officials – at all levels – in containing the humanitarian crisis affecting the Yanomami indigenous community, days after visiting the area with President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who described the situation as «genocide».

«I have no doubt, although it is obviously not for me to judge, that there are strong indications that the crime of genocide has been committed», said the Minister of Justice during a meeting with the press.

Dino explained that the deaths due to malnutrition and curable diseases, the diversion in the purchase of medicines and vaccines against the coronavirus, or the «little or no» access to the health systems, «lead to a scenario of possible intentional dismantling» of the services destined to the Yanomami people.

The statements of the Minister of Justice are in line with those expressed a few days ago by President Lula da Silva after his visit to Roraima, where he noted the difficult situation of this indigenous community. «More than a humanitarian crisis what I saw was (…) a premeditated crime against the Yanomami, committed by a government insensitive to the suffering of the Brazilian people», he said.

One of the main responsible for this situation, according to the government, has been the encouragement and defense offered to the illegal extractors of gold and other precious stones, the garimpeiros. Dino has pointed out that in the report he has sent to the Police he alludes with special attention to this matter.

«We have had a stimulus to illegal mining in the Brazilian Amazon. We have even had the visit of former president Jair Bolsonaro to an illegal mine that had not yet regularized its situation», he recalled.

The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples reported this week that a hundred children between one and four years of age from the Yanomami community died from malnutrition, pneumonia and diarrhea as a result of the advance of illegal mining, responsible for the contamination of rivers and fields on which this community lives. There has also been a serious increase in malaria cases in the last year.