Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Celebs: Do the right thing, save Amazon’s indigenous

Celebs: Do the right thing, save Amazon’s indigenous

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Brazilian indigenous leaders and tribe members hold a protest in Brasilia demanding the demarcation of indigenous lands. afp

Celebs: Do the right thing, save Amazon’s indigenous

Brazilian photojournalist Sebastiao Salgado has sent an open letter to President Jair Bolsonaro – signed by celebrities like Brad Pitt and Madonna – calling for “urgent measures” to save the indigenous peoples of the Amazon from the coronavirus pandemic.

“The indigenous peoples of Brazil face a serious threat to their own survival with the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said the letter, backed by an online petition which has so far gathered around 50,000 signatures.

The 76-year-old photographer has won numerous international awards for his portrayal of the poor across the world, most recently turning his focus on the peoples of the Amazon rainforest basin.

“Five centuries ago, these ethnic groups were decimated by diseases brought by European colonisers,” said the letter, signed by a list of celebrities including Paul McCartney, Richard Gere and Meryl Streep.

“Today with this new scourge spreading rapidly throughout Brazil,” the Amazon’s indigenous people “may disappear completely since they have no means of combating Covid-19”.

The stars appear in a video by Brazilian director Fernando Meireles, which features Salgado calling on Bolsonaro to put an end to economic intrusion into the lives of the Amazon peoples, and to “guarantee their protection”.

“Brazil owes a debt to its first inhabitants. It is time to do what should have been done a long time ago,” says Salgado.

The Brazilian state of Amazonas, home to most of the country’s indigenous people, is one of the regions worst affected by the pandemic, with more than 500 deaths to date according to the health ministry.


  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • PM: West unfair to Cambodia

    Prime Minister Hun Sen released a message celebrating the International Day of Peace on Monday, saying that some major powers and western countries had been systemically cooperating to put political pressure on Cambodia as they did in the 1970s and 1980s. Hun Sen said pressuring

  • Deminers unearth ancient lion statue

    Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on Tuesday that a statue of a lion was found by mine clearance experts while they were digging for a development project. It was sent to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts last