A major group of indigenous people living in Argentine Patagonia are taking some of the world's biggest oil and gas multinationals to court for environmental contamination, Greenpeace said this week. The Mapuche are suing American giant Exxon, French company Total and the Argentina-based Pan American Energy, which is part-owned by BP.
Brazil's right-wing President-elect Jair Bolsonaro named a pro-life evangelical pastor to head a new ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights that will also take over the agency looking after the country's 850,000 indigenous people. Damares Alves, a lawyer, preacher and congressional aide, is a staunch opponent of legalizing abortion, which is allowed only in cases of rape, anencephaly or when the mother's life is in danger.
The United Nations human rights expert on racism urged Argentina to take urgent measures to sustainably address the invisibility, marginalization and systematic exclusion of indigenous peoples in the country. The UN assessed during a week in Argentina, the situation of indigenous peoples, peoples of African descent, migrants from the region and beyond, and other groups.
Organization of American States (OAS) Secretary General José Miguel Insulza commemorated on Friday the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples with a call for the protection of the all native peoples of the Americas and urged the full implementation of treaties and other agreements that states have adopted internationally and especially in the Inter-American context.
“We want to live as human beings. We don’t want to be considered as strangers in our own country, poor or useless. We want to live without discrimination. We don’t want blood shed, we just want to reclaim our community,” said to Amnesty International Félix Díaz, leader of the Qom indigenous community of Potae Napocna Navogoh (La Primavera), in Argentina’s northern province of Formosa.
Brazil's Supreme Court has approved the resumption of work on the controversial 13 billion dollars Belo Monte dam in the Amazon, which was stopped earlier this month after protests from indigenous groups.
The UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya and Amnesty International praised the approval of a law on consultation with indigenous peoples by the Congress of Peru and called on President Ollanta Humala for its quick promulgation and implementation.