Statement regarding the Federal Court decision on the Restraining Order requested by the Union of Indigenous Peoples of the Javari Valley (UNIVAJA) against fundamentalist missionaries

União dos Povos Indígenas do Vale do Javari
“Unidos pela defesa e autonomia dos povos Indígenas do Vale do Javari”


The elected Coordination body of UNIVAJA, on behalf of the Marubo, Mayoruna (Matses), Matis, Kanamari, Kulina Pano and Tsohom-Djapa peoples, highlights the important decision handed down yesterday. (April 16) by Federal Judge Fabiano Verli in Tabatinga, Amazonas State. The decision affirmed in its entirety a legal petition initiated by UNIVAJA lawyer, Eliésio Marubo, barring entry by fundamentalist missionaries who Insist on evangelizing In the Javari Valley Indigenous Territory

We have long denounced these religious organizations for violating Brazilian laws, disrespecting our internal relationships, ways of life and forms of thinking about the world. Now these groups physically expose us to a lethal virus that is ravaging humanity. We are survivors of previous genocidal plagues. Nowadays we speak Portuguese to protect our interests and those of our neighbors, people who live in the forest in voluntary isolation. We will continue denouncing the unwelcome missionaries, who harm us and our homeland.

 At our General Assembly in mid-March of this year, 130 leaders from over 60 villages of the Javari Valley spoke with one voice, repudiating these proselytizing organizations and rejecting the appointment of the missionary, Ricardo Lopes Dias, to head the department for isolated Indians et the Federal agency, FUNAI. 

With regard to the court’s ruling, It preserves our hope that we can still believe in our justice system in these times of government hatred and aggression against the indigenous Peoples of Brazil. In the words of our Indigenous Maruho lawyer, “This decision forces the Christians to remember the highest principle of his faith: “love and respect thy neighbor”


 Malaia do Norte, Amazonas, April 17, 2020. 

Coordinators of Univaja

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