| 17-04-2005

Brazil: Malnutrition causes the death of indigenous children in Mato Grosso do Sul

The number of starvation deaths among the indigenous Guarani- Kaiowá children in Mato Grosso do Sul keeps growing. In the two first months of this year, six persons who died of malnutrition in the indigenous reserve of Dourados were registered. Another five children died from hunger in the village of Amambai, in the municipality of Amambai.It is estimated that in total already 17 children under five years of age have died this year from under nutrition in the indigenous villages of Mato Grosso do Sul. The cause for this situation is the lack of land which results from land grabbing and destruction of the indigenous peoples` traditional land, and from the policy of restriction and the loss of freedom of movement. There has been a process of violence against these persons and against the indigenous populations´ forms of life. The forests where it is possible to hunt were destroyed by timber-merchants and the farmers´ tractors. The indigenous communities had used them to collect food like fruits, honey and raw material to construct houses and tools.

The failure of the Brazilian government to protect the communities’ access to their land is a gross violation of human rights and has resulted in the starvation deaths of 17 indigenous children. It is very important to request President Lula to take urgent measures to solve the problem of hunger in the indigenous villages. Please send letters to President Lula together with copies to the Supreme Court and to the Human Rights Center “Mafaldo de Souza”.