Title: Two Years On: Seeking Justice for Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira

Last Updated: June 19, 2024By

Title: Two Years On: Seeking Justice for Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira


Hey there! So, it’s been nearly two years since the tragic deaths of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira. Their story is not just heartbreaking but also a stark reminder of the dangers faced by those standing up for what’s right.

A Journey Cut Short

Dom Phillips, a British journalist, and Bruno Pereira, a Brazilian Indigenous expert, were on a mission. On June 5, 2022, they were traveling by boat to Atalaia do Norte in the Brazilian Amazon. Their goal? To shed light on the criminal activities threatening the Javari Valley, one of the world’s largest Indigenous territories. But they never made it back. Ambushed and murdered, their deaths sparked international outrage.


Who’s Responsible?

Three men were quickly arrested: Amarildo da Costa de Oliveira (nicknamed Pelado), Jefferson da Silva Lima (Pelado da Dinha), and Oseney da Costa de Oliveira (Dos Santos). Pelado and Pelado da Dinha confessed to the killings, but claimed it was self-defense. Sounds fishy, right? Especially since Pereira’s friends say he would never shoot first.

Press Freedom Under Threat

This isn’t just about Phillips and Pereira. It’s about a larger issue – press freedom. Journalists around the world face threats daily. In 2021 alone, 99 journalists were killed. Despite the dangers, brave reporters continue to risk their lives to bring us the truth, from war zones to regions controlled by oppressive regimes.

Waiting for Justice

The trial for the three suspects hasn’t started yet. Rafael Fagundes, the lawyer for Phillips’s family, hopes it will happen next year. Meanwhile, two more men have been charged. One of them, Ruben Dario da Silva Villar, is believed to be the mastermind. Known as “Colombia,” he allegedly leads a massive illegal fishing network. The other, Jânio Freitas de Souza, is thought to be his right-hand man.


The Bigger Picture

Eliesio Marubo, an Indigenous lawyer and activist, believes the real culprits might still be free. He suspects powerful local politicians are involved and is calling for a deeper investigation. Marubo emphasizes that these murders are part of a much larger problem – the ongoing invasion of Indigenous lands by illegal miners, poachers, and fishers.

Disappointment with the Government

When President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office in January 2023, there was hope. Lula promised to protect Indigenous territories and stop illegal activities. But nearly two years later, not much has changed. Illegal activities continue, and the floating federal police base deployed to the region has been withdrawn. This lack of action led to Lula not being invited to the annual Terra Livre camp, a major Indigenous gathering.

Living in Fear

Indigenous activists in the region are living in fear. Marubo shared that a Kanamari activist was recently threatened while traveling to Brasília. The attackers warned him to stop speaking out about illegal fishing, hinting he could meet the same fate as Phillips and Pereira.


What Now?

As we reflect on this tragedy, it’s crucial to support those who fight for justice and protect the environment. Let’s keep the stories of Phillips and Pereira alive and continue to demand accountability.


1. Who were Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira?
Dom Phillips was a British journalist, and Bruno Pereira was a Brazilian Indigenous expert. They were investigating illegal activities in the Javari Valley when they were murdered in June 2022.

2. What happened to the suspects?
Three men were arrested and confessed to the killings but claimed self-defense. Their trial has yet to begin. Two more men have been charged in connection with the crime.

3. Why is this important?
Their deaths highlight the dangers faced by journalists and activists worldwide. It also underscores the ongoing illegal activities in the Amazon and the need for stronger protection for Indigenous territories.

4. How has the Brazilian government responded?
Despite promises from President Lula to protect Indigenous lands, little action has been taken, and illegal activities continue.

5. What can we do to help?
Support independent journalism, raise awareness about the issues, and demand justice and protection for those defending human rights and the environment.

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