Defender of Guarani Receives Award

Erwin Kräutler, a Catholic bishop, received the Right Livelihood Award on Dec. 6 for his work defending the rights of indigenous people in Brazil. He was honored “for a lifetime of work for the human and environmental rights of indigenous peoples and for his tireless efforts to save the Amazon forest from destruction.” Bishop Kräutler is president of the Indigenist Missionary Council of the Catholic Church in Brazil. In accepting the award, Bishop Kräutler highlighted the Guaraní Indians’ “pain, despair and insecurity” and said they are “confined to small areas, their young people see no prospect for their future and the suicide rate among them is alarmingly high…. The current government is ignoring this cruel genocide in progress before their eyes.” As bishop of Xingu, Kräutler has defended the rights of the Indians of the Xingu region of the Brazilian Amazon now threatened by the Belo Monte mega-dam. The bishop described Belo Monte as “a project that never took into consideration the legitimate rights and preoccupations of the population of the Xingu.” He said that indigenous people know they will not survive “if Amazonia continues to be disrespected and razed.”

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