The area affected by illegal mining in the Yanomami Indigenous Land fell by 78.5% between January and September 2023, compared to the same period last year.
The data was released this Friday (15) by the Management and Operational Center for the Amazon Protection System (Censipam), of the Ministry of Defense.
In the first nine months of 2023, the area impacted by mining was 214 hectares. Last year, the activity occupied 999 hectares, as shown by Cenispam satellite monitoring.
In the Yanomami indigenous land, illegal mining caused a humanitarian crisis that, ignored by the government of Jair Bolsonaro (PL), resulted in the deaths from preventable causes of at least 570 indigenous children.
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According to the Ministry of Defense, the reduction of almost 80% indicates that the presence of miners is restricted to small areas of the region and that the largest concentrations of invaders have been demobilized.
Satellite images released by Cinespam show that there was a change in the color of two rivers affected by mining – Uraricoera and Mucajaí. The yellowish color, the result of mercury contamination, gave way to the more natural darker tone of the water.
The drop in mining occurs seven months after the federal government launched Operation Liberation, which mobilizes 700 members from different government institutions, with the aim of putting an end to illegal mining in Yanomami territory.
After the intervention of the federal government, health care fronts were opened within the territory. The victims suffered from malaria, worms, malnutrition and mercury contamination.
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A report released in August this year by Yanomami and Ye’kwana associations points out that miners still persist in the territory, causing instability and insecurity.
Indigenous organizations say that politicians, the military and criminal factions linked to illegal mining contribute to disrupting and further delaying the process of expulsion of the miners, which has been going on since February this year.
The report demands actions from the federal government to improve and expand health actions, humanitarian aid and the restoration of food security, deeply affected by mining.
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“Perhaps you can consider 70% positive evolution after 6 months. But it still needs to be looked deeper into Yanomami land” said Maurício Ye’kwana, from the Hutukara Yanomami Association, in August.
“(The federal administration) needs to have this dialogue with indigenous organizations. Because just the government going in there and trying to do something won’t be able to do it. Not without the presence of the indigenous organizations that are there”, demanded the indigenous leader.
The Ministry of Indigenous Peoples (MPI) recognizes that there are still issues to be resolved involving the Yanomami Indigenous Land, but stated that rebuilding the damage that was done over years of neglect takes some time.
“Still, we can say that the treatment given not only to the Yanomami, but to all indigenous peoples, has already changed for the better,” declared the MPI.
Editing: Thalita Pires