Programs: Science and Policy
AAAS Scientific Responsibility, Human Rights and Law Program
AAAS Human Rights Action Network
|Date:||21 August 2002|
|Case Numbers:||br0215_fer; br0215_top|
|Victims:||Mariana Ferreira Ph.D.; Hiparidi Top'tiro|
|Subject:||Death Threats Made Against Anthropologist and Environmentalist|
|Issues:||Freedom of opinion and expression; Harassment or intimidation|
|Type of alert:||New|
FACTS OF THE CASE:
For the past few months, Brazilian indigenous leader Hiparidi Top'tiro and University of Tennessee anthropologist Dr. Mariana Ferreira have received numerous death threats. Dr. Ferreira is a cultural and medical anthropologist who specializes in the ethnology of indigenous peoples of Brazil, the United States, and India. Hiparidi Top'tiro is a well-known environmental campaigner with the Xavante Wara association, a Brazilian environmental organization active in the Sangradouro Indian reserve of Brazil. Dr. Ferriera serves as a consultant with the Xavante Wara. As part of her research, she makes regular visits to the region. During a June 2002 visit, government officials warned her that her that Hiparidi Top'tiro and members of his family had received numerous death threats. During that trip, Dr. Ferreira also received threats. While driving in the region, an unmarked car tried to force her off the road.
It is believed that Hiparidi Top'tiro and, by association, Dr. Ferreira, are being targeted because of a legal action that Xavante Wara filed against local landowners for deforesting part of a protected indigenous area. The threats are reportedly coming from the regional administrator of the National Indigenous Foundation (Fundacao Nacional do Indio, FUNAI). According to an Amnesty International researcher in the region, "the regional administrator of FUNAI allegedly has strong links to landowners in the region and has been intimidating and threatening Hiparidi Top'tiro and his family for a long time." The threats have been very strong, with the FUNAI official reportedly telling Hiparidi Top'tiro that he would tie up his feet and hands and throw him into the trash. The FUNAI regional administrator also reportedly stated that no one can hurt him because he "has powerful friends" in the government. Hiparidi Top'tiro has filed numerous reports detailing the threats with local authorities but no official action has been taken against FUNAI.
(Sources of information for this case include: Amnesty International and correspondence with Dr. Mariana Ferreira.)
RELEVANT HUMAN RIGHTS STANDARDS
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
- Article 12: (1): The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. (2): The steps to be taken by the States Parties to the present Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include those necessary for: (c) The prevention, treatment and control of epidemic, endemic, occupational and other diseases; (d) The creation of conditions which would assure to all medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
- Article 19: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
- Article 12: No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his [or her] honor and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks
Please send faxes, letters, or emails:
- Expressing serious concern for the safety of Hiparidi Top'tiro, his family, and Dr. Mariana Ferreira;
- Urging the authorities to promptly investigate the death threats against these individuals and to bring those responsible to justice; and
- Requesting that the authorities provide appropriate federal protection and guarantee the safety of Hiparidi Top'tiro and Dr. Mariana Ferreira.
APPEAL AND INQUIRY MESSAGES SHOULD BE SENT TO:
Dra Fabiola Dorr Kaloy
Federal Attorney General of the Mato Grosso State
Rua Osorio Duque Estrada 107, Ed. Capital - Bairro Araes
78005-720 Cuiaba - MT, Brazil
Fax: 011 55 65 612 5085
Salutation: Dear Attorney General:
Sr. Paulo Sergio Pinheiro
Federal Secretary for Human Rights
Secretaria de Estado dos Direitos Humanos
Ministerio da Justica
Esplanada dos Ministerios
Bloco T,40 andar , Sala 420
70064-900 Brasilia - DF
Fax: 011 55 61 226 7980
Salutation: Dear Mr. Secretary:
Otacilio Antunes dos Reis Filho
President of the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI)
SEPS Quadra 702/902 Projecao A, Ed. Lex
70390-025 Brasilia - DF
Fax: 011 55 61 226 8782 (When someone answers say 'Me
Salutation: Dear Mr. President:
COPIES SENT TO:
Please send copies of your appeals, and any responses you may receive, or direct any questions you may have to Victoria Baxter, AAAS Science and Human Rights Program, 1200 New York Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20005; tel. 202-326-6797; email email@example.com; or fax 202-289-4950.
The keys to effective appeals are to be courteous and respectful, accurate and precise, impartial in approach, and as specific as possible regarding the alleged violation and the international human rights standards and instruments that apply to the situation. Reference to your scientific organization and professional affiliation is always helpful.
To ensure that appeals are current and credible, please do not continue to write appeals on this case after 90 days from the date of the posting unless an update has been issued.