Paulo Paulino Guajajara


Source: BBC News (2nd Nov 2019)

26 year old Paulo Paulino “Lobo” Guajajara, was a land defender and a Guajajara leader.  The Guajajaras are one of Brazil’s largest indigenous peoples with some 20,000 people. 

“I’m scared at times, but we have to lift up our heads and act. We are here fighting,” he told Reuters news agency this year.

“There is so much destruction of nature happening, good trees with wood as hard as steel being cut down and taken away,” he added.

“We have to preserve this life for our children’s future.”

Source: Live Science

In 2012, they started the Guardians of the Forest to protect the Arariboia Indigenous Territory.  Lobo was a member of the group called “Guardians of the Forest.” This brigade of 120 Guajajara formed in 2012 to protect their tribe, as well as an even more vulnerable indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation in a scrap of forest called Araribóia. This section of forest is constitutionally protected as indigenous land, but deforestation has separated the strip from the rest of the Amazon. Araribóia is a frequent target for illegal logging incursions, Reuters reported.


The Killing

Source: BBC News (2nd Nov 2019)

On 1st November 2019, Paulo Paulino Guajajara was attacked and shot in the head while hunting on Friday inside the Arariboia reservation in Maranhao state. He was a member of ‘Guardians of the Forest’, a group formed to combat logging gangs in the area.  The killing increases concerns about escalating violence against Amazon forest protectors.

Source: New York Times

In April, members of the Guajajara Indigenous peoples went to the capital, Brasília, to plead for protection from loggers invading their land in the state of Maranhão. In August, the state’s head of human rights wrote to the federal police to say loggers were threatening the Guajajara in the Araribóia Indigenous Land.

But those warnings didn’t help Paulo Paulino Guajajara during a hunting trip with a friend in the Araribóia reserve on Friday, when they were ambushed by a group of five loggers working illegally in the area.

Author: By Manuela Andreoni and Letícia Casado

Source: The Guardian

According to a statement by the Brazilian Indigenous Peoples Association, Paulo Paulino Guajajara was shot and killed inside the Araribóia indigenous territory in Maranhão state. Another tribesman, Laércio Guajajara, was also shot and hospitalised and a logger has been reported missing. No body has yet been recovered.

The tribesmen are members of an indigenous forest guard called ‘Guardians of the Forest’, which formed in 2012 to ward off logging gangs pillaging their rare, hardwood-rich reserve.

Their work involves armed patrols and destroying logging encampments and has earned them dangerous enemies. Several Guardians in Maranhão have been killed in recent years, including three from Araribóia.

Author: Sam Cowie São Paulo



Authorities say he was shot in the head during an ambush by illegal loggers who had invaded the reservation. Another indigenous man, Tainaky Tenetehar, was injured in the attack.

Brazilian police said one of the loggers was also killed in a subsequent shootout.  Brazil’s pan-indigenous organization APIB said Paulo Paulino Guajajara’s body was still lying in the forest where he was gunned down. 


Source: Arab News

Federal police will investigate Guajajara’s killing in order to “bring those responsible for this crime to justice,” said Sergio Moro, the justice and public security minister.

An indigenous leader in the area said the forest guards had previously received threats and wore protective vests while on patrol.

“We informed federal agencies of the threats but they didn’t take any action,” leader Sonia Guajajara said.


Source: BBC News

The APIB, which represents many of Brazil’s 900,000 indigenous people, said Mr Bolsonaro’s government had serious questions to answer.

“The Bolsonaro government has indigenous blood on its hands,” it said in a statement.

“The increase in violence in indigenous territories is a direct result of his hateful speeches and steps taken against our people.”

Brazil’s populist President Jair Bolsonaro has drawn intense domestic and international criticism for failing to protect the Guardians’ territory in the eastern Amazon region.

Source: Survival International


A statement from the Guajajara Guardians of Arariboia Indigenous Territory, Brazil

We’ve lost a great warrior in our fight. They murdered our friend, our brother, our tireless companion in the defence of the forest, Paulo Paulino “Lobo” Guajajara.

We’re mourning and our hearts are hurting.

Lobo was killed because he defended our land. Our forest that gives us everything. Our forest without which we cannot live. Lobo was killed for defending life.

There is so much evil in this world. The loggers want to kill us to steal our trees and make money. We are not violent to them, but they are heavily armed. They threaten us. They kill us. They killed our friends, our fellow Guardians Cantidi, Assis and Afonso. And now they’ve killed Lobo.

But his death will not be in vain. It makes us sad and angry, but it gives us strength. One more warrior has been planted in the soil. It will give us the strength to keep fighting to protect our forest for our families, and for the survival of our uncontacted Awá relatives. We will never give up.

We cannot give up because we have a great battle ahead. The government has declared itself our enemy. President Bolsonaro said he will not protect indigenous lands. He and others want to open our land to agribusiness. We will never accept that!

We want the government to fulfil its duty to help us defend our forest from illegal invaders and destruction. We want proper security for our land and our lives.

We want the government to investigate Lobo’s murder, and the attack on him and our fellow Guardian Tainaky. We want the killers and the logging mafias behind bars.

We’ve been denouncing the threats and crimes against us for a long time. Lobo and all of us Guardians had often warned the authorities that we could be attacked and killed at any time. Nothing was done. And Lobo was murdered.

Where is justice? We demand justice!

We will continue our struggle to rid our land of loggers. We know it’s working. We’re managing to greatly reduce the destruction.

The protection of our land and its biodiversity has always been our struggle and always will be. It does not depend on politics or money. It is simply a matter of life and death for us, our relatives and future generations.

While we are alive, we will fight for Lobo. We will fight to the last drop of our blood. And we will win. The health of the planet depends on this struggle.

We ask everyone to support our work to defend the lungs of the planet and to defend life. For Lobo, and for everyone, let’s fight to the end.

Author: Sarah Shenker/Survival International


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Date of Killing:01/11/2019

Previous Threats:Yes

Type of Work:Community leader

Organisation:Guardians of the Forest

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Environmental Rights, Extractive industries/Mega projects, Indigenous Peoples' Rights, Land Rights

More information:Front Line Defenders

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