Saturday, June 10, 2023

UN urges Brazil to step up search for missing journalist, rights activist

The duo were last seen on Sunday travelling in a boat on the Itaquaí River, reportedly to conduct interviews with indigenous communities.

• June 11, 2022
Ravina Shamdasani
Ravina Shamdasani [Photo Credit: Northwestern University]

United Nations Human Rights Office (OHCHR) has urged authorities in Brazil to step up efforts to find a British journalist, Dom Phillips and an indigenous rights activist, Bruno Pereira.

“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,” OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told journalists in Geneva.

Mr Phillips, a regular contributor to The Guardian, and Mr Pereira, an employee with the Brazilian indigenous affairs agency, went missing in the Javari Valley, a major indigenous territory located in the western Amazon near Peru and Colombia.

They were last seen on Sunday travelling in a boat on the Itaquaí River, reportedly to conduct interviews with indigenous communities.

Ms Shamdasani said OHCHR was concerned about the continued lack of information on their whereabouts and wellbeing, 

“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 area in question.”

The human rights office also commended civil society groups who have been coordinating efforts to locate the two men, including by sending search-and-rescue missions to the area.

OHCHR also expressed concern over the broader issue of constant attacks and harassment targeting activists, environmentalists, and journalists in Brazil, stressing that the authorities were responsible for protecting them and ensuring they could exercise their rights. 


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