Brazil—Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva urged the world Monday to ensure British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira did not die in vain, at commemorations marking one year since their murder in the Amazon rainforest.
In a case that caused global outcry, Phillips and Pereira were killed on June 5, 2022 on a reporting trip to the edge of the Javari Valley, a far-flung Indigenous reservation in northwestern Brazil that experts say has been invaded by drug traffickers, illegal gold miners and poachers.
“I want to pay tribute to Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira, and all those who lost their lives defending the environment,” Lula said at an event in Brasilia that opened with a resounding salvo of applause in memory of the two men.
“The best way to honor them is to make sure their struggle wasn’t in vain,” he said, announcing new initiatives to fight illegal deforestation in the Amazon, which surged under his far-right predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022).
In that spirit, Lula later unveiled an update of an initiative he launched in 2004 during his first term as president, only for it to be scrapped by Bolsonaro, under whom deforestation shot up by 75 percent compared to the previous decade. AFP