Originally posted on CAFOD Lancaster Blog:
This reflection is written by Iona Reid-Dalglish, a former ‘Step into the Gap’ volunteer with CAFOD. She recently attended a CAFOD Lancaster event where she met Davi Yanomami Kopenawa and Mauricio Ye’Kuana who are members of CAFOD partner group Hutukara Yanomami Association (HAY) from Brazil.
Davi in Yanomami territory
I had the privilege recently of attending a CAFOD day hosting Davi Yanemami Kopenawa and Mauricio Ye’Kuana. These two men are key activists from indigenous tribes in the northern Brazilian Amazon, and vital members in CAFOD partner group Hutukara Yanomami Association (HAY). Although they come from different tribes (Davi is from the Yanomami people, and Mauricio, the Ye’Kuana people), both are working for indigenous rights and the protection of the rainforest which is their home.
Mauricio from the Ye’Kuana tribe in Brazil
I found these two men’s stories profoundly moving, not only for the work they do and the struggles they…
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Five years on from the Asian tsunami, people in Sri Lanka, Indonesia and India have safer, more comfortable homes, secure jobs and are better prepared for disasters.
Please light a candle in remembrance of those who died in the tsunami, and support our vital emergency work
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As a result of the tsunami, a lot of people lost their documents proving which land they owned.
The regional government office storing all the other copies had been destroyed too, so it became very hard to know who owned what. Some land was lost to the sea completely.
The strength of the waves altered the shape of the coastline and other areas were inundated with water, so many people had to be relocated to new areas assigned to them by the government.
To try to tackle some of these issues, we have been working with our partner, the Legal Aid Foundation, who provided legal aid to people who had lost their land deeds in the tsunami.
Yesterday, shortly after Xavier and Aninha of the Pastoral Land Commission came to tell us about their work helping people out of bonded labour and slavery in the rural north of Brazil, we saw images of a violent eviction of participants in a CAFOD and EC-supported programme in São Paulo promoting housing for the poorest.
More than 2,000 people were evicted from a squatter community in southern São Paulo by 240 riot police – called “Shock Troops” – in the southern part of São Paulo. With the teargas, rubber bullets, and police cordons, most were barely able to get their meagre belongings.
The images were a stark reminder of how, even though the Brazilian constitution is on the side of the people, it does not take much for the rich and powerful to keep one step ahead of the poor in the courts.
Witnessing this eviction from afar brought me back to June, when I visited a newer Camp in the eastern part of São Paulo.
Hot, dusty, sweaty, smelly Tegucigalpa is a city of 1.8 million. Its name means “hill of silver” in the local indigenous language, and it is indeed extremely hilly – which means many people are in danger from regular landslides.
Some of the hills can move up to one metre a year – for example, we saw a 90-year-old church which was totally taken out when the hillside it was on moved eight metres in the rains last October.