Family of journalist murdered in the Amazon launch fundraiser in his memory
The family of a British journalist murdered in the Amazon while researching a book about how to save the rainforest have launched a fundraiser in his memory.
Dom Phillips, 57, and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, 41, were killed on June 5 on their boat on the Itaquai river, near the entrance to the Javari Valley Indigenous Territory, which borders Peru and Colombia.
Mr Phillips’ sister Sian Phillips has launched a fundraiser in their memory and plans to donate all proceeds to UNIVAJA (the Union of Indigenous Peoples of Vale do Javari) to help protect indigenous communities.
The fundraiser, which aims to raise £5,000, is also supported by Mr Pereira’s family.
Ms Phillips’ partner Paul Sherwood, who helped launch the appeal, told the PA news agency: “We wanted to support a cause that was appropriate for the work that Sian’s brother Dom and Bruno were doing in the Amazon.
“They were both very interested in the plight of the indigenous people, the fact that they are suffering increasing numbers of attacks from people going there to extract resources… and this is becoming a more serious crisis.”
Mr Sherwood said the proceeds will help fund surveillance and communications technology, as well as other equipment.
It’s a way of thanking the indigenous people for the fact... they were the first people to search when Dom and Bruno disappeared
“Dom was raising awareness of the activities that were going on (to reduce conflict in the Amazon) that Bruno was actually participating in,” he added.
“Also, it’s a way of thanking the indigenous people for the fact that they were the first people on the scene – obviously they live there, but they were the first people to search when Dom and Bruno disappeared… that’s something Sian is very grateful for.”
Prosecutors have charged three local men with the murders of Mr Phillips and Mr Pereira.
Their disappearance generated intense international pressure for action and, with the help of local indigenous people, authorities located the bodies hidden in the forest after 10 days of searching.
The region has seen a long conflict between indigenous tribes and poor fishermen hired to invade the Javari Valley to catch arapaima, turtles and game.
Mr Pereira, who was an official at Brazil’s indigenous affairs bureau, fought against these invasions for years and had previously received multiple threats.
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