UK’s Channel 4 to expose mining on Yanomami land

April 10, 2008

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The acclaimed Channel 4 current affairs series, ‘Unreported World’, is to broadcast a documentary tomorrow exposing the devastating effects of illegal goldmining on the land of the Yanomami Indians in the Brazilian Amazon.

Survival campaigner Fiona Watson has just returned from Brazil, where she visited the Yanomami and other tribes. She says, ‘Yanomami are dying because the Brazilian government is failing to keep illegal goldminers off their land, and its Yanomami health programme is in chaos. More than a fifth of the tribe died in the eighties and nineties from diseases brought by miners. It’s heartbreaking to see it starting to happen again.’

The Channel 4 programme will also discuss the Brazilian government’s plan to open Indigenous land all over Brazil for large-scale mining projects – a plan vehemently opposed by the Yanomami and other tribes.

Shaman and president of the Yanomami association Hutukara, Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, told Survival, ‘We the Yanomami people don’t think the government’s mining project will benefit anyone. It’s not going to do anything good for the Indians. It will just destroy the streams and the rivers, kill the fish and kill the environment. And kill us. We do not want to die again.’

The Yanomami are one of the largest tribes in Amazonia, and live in the rainforests of Brazil and Venezuela.

The ‘Unreported World’ programme will be shown in the UK on Channel 4 at 7.35pm on Friday 11 April.

Find out more about the Yanomami

Fiona Watson is available for interview. She has recently returned from visiting the Yanomami and other Indigenous peoples in Brazil. For more information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email [email protected]