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Press briefing notes Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Briefing notes on Brazil: Missing journalist and indigenous rights defender

10 June 2022

Demonstrators hold placards and roses as they protest following the disappearance, in the Amazon, of journalist Dom Phillips and campaigner Bruno Araujo Pereira, outside the Brazilian Embassy in London, Britain, June 9, 2022 © REUTERS/Toby Melville

Delivered by

Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani



We are concerned about the continued lack of information on the whereabouts and wellbeing of British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian indigenous rights defender Bruno Araújo Pereira in the Javari Valley, a remote area in western Amazon of Brazil, neighboring Peru and Colombia. Our regional office for South America is monitoring the situation closely.

Pereira and Phillips have been missing since Sunday 5 June, when they were last seen travelling in a boat on the Itaquaí River, reportedly to conduct interviews with indigenous communities.

Javari Valley in the Amazon is the second biggest indigenous territory in Brazil, and it is believed to have one of the world’s highest concentrations of uncontacted indigenous tribes. The area is also seriously affected by illegal trafficking, mining, and fishing, and it is reportedly suffering from increased activities of armed groups.

Phillips and Pereira have played important roles in raising awareness and defending the human rights of the indigenous peoples in the area, including by monitoring and reporting illegal activities in the Javari Valley. Pereira had reportedly received threats related to his work in defence of indigenous peoples and the environment.

We urge Brazilian authorities to redouble their efforts to find Phillips and Pereira, with time of the essence in view of the real risks to their rights to life and security. It is therefore crucial that authorities at the federal and local levels react robustly and expeditiously, including by fully deploying available means and necessary specialized resources to effectively search over the remote rea in question.

We also commend civil society groups who have been coordinating efforts to locate the two men, including by sending search-and-rescue missions to the area.

We also stress our concern as to the wider context of constant attacks and harassment faced by human rights defenders, environmentalists, and journalists in Brazil. The authorities have the responsibility to protect them and ensure that they can exercise their rights, including to freedom of expression and association, free from attacks and threats.

We also reiterate our calls for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples in the country, particularly those in voluntary isolation or initial contact. Authorities must adopt adequate measures to guarantee their rights to land, territories, and traditional livelihoods, while protecting them from all forms of violence and discrimination both by State and non-State actors.

For more information and media requests, please contact:

In Geneva

Ravina Shamdasani - + 41 22 917 9169 / [email protected] or
Jeremy Laurence + 41 22 917 9383 / [email protected] or
Marta Hurtado - + 41 22 917 9466 / [email protected]

In Nairobi

Seif Magango - +254 788 343 897 / [email protected]

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