The Brazilian indigenous Alessandra Korap, leader of the Munduruku ethnic group and who this Thursday received in a virtual ceremony the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights 2020 Prize, affirmed that the new coronavirus pandemic killed “living libraries”, as the oldest people are considered and you knew of their peoples.
“The pandemic killed ‘living libraries” and “the number of invaders with a thirst to exploit our lands has increased, taking advantage of the fact that we are in isolation,” the 36-year-old leader and law student at one of the universities in the Amazonian state of Pará (north) lamented upon receiving the award.
Brazil, one of the countries most affected by covid-19, totals more than 5.3 million confirmed cases and nearly 159,000 deaths, of which 31,761 infections and 470 deaths correspond to indigenous people.
Corrupt, who has stood out at the forefront of indigenous women fighting to defend their lands against illegal logging and mining activities and opposing large hydroelectric projects in the region, received the award virtually from Kerry Kennedy, daughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy.
“Other intruders have been vectors of infections within the protected territories,” denounced the US activist on the outbreaks of the new coronavirus in indigenous peoples of Brazil.
For Korap, the four hydroelectric projects, including the giant Belo Monte dam, “they have destroyed sacred places” and their peoples continue to be “threatened by other works”.
“It is a traditional territory and we do not want compensation, we want our river and the jungle alive, but they want to expel us. Our territory, our rivers and our life are not for sale. Indigenous peoples, quilombolas (of Afro-descendants) must be respected. ) and fishermen, “he said.
According to Korap, this award “will help strengthen the struggle for the territory and bring hope for resistance“, in addition to being a” recognition of the shouts of the jungle that echo with the voices “of the indigenous peoples and those who want to” silence “to turn them into” museums that do not speak. “
“The profit of man is destroying the most sacred, for example the railroad is to load soybeans and corn for other countries. Colonization did not stop, it continues and this government does not like the Indians, it accuses us of the fires,” Korap added in reference to the Brazilian president, Jair Bolsanaro.
Bolsonaro and the environment
The far-right leader, criticized for his anti-environmental policy, has accused farmers and indigenous communities of part of the fires that devastate the Amazon and the Pantanal, the largest wetland in the world that the country shares with Paraguay and Bolivia.
“We have the right to say no” to the works that the country’s governments have launched in the Amazon region, stressed the indigenous leader.
Kerry Kennedy highlighted Korap’s activism on behalf of “oppressed peoples” and his determination for “a more just world, which was what Robert Keneddy believed” before “a president (Bolsonaro) who has removed many of the protections that these peoples had.”
Former Secretary of State and former US presidential candidate John Kerry, who presented the award, pointed out that the world faces “a time when values are being put to the test, a time when indigenous peoples are suffering, often isolated.” .
Because, “the extraordinary fight for the lungs of the planet, leadership and courage for the future “ it’s in leaders like Korap, Kerry said.
According to the former senator, the world “needs millions” as the leader, because, according to the American politician, “there is much to learn from indigenous peoples so as not to rob the children of the world of their future.”