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Last Updated: Friday, 27 May, 2005, 18:15 GMT 19:15 UK
Logging ban protects Brazil tribe
Map of Brazil
A Brazilian judge has reinstated an order banning loggers from land inhabited by a remote Amazonian tribe.

The ruling covers a 166,000 hectare (410,000-acre) area of rainforest in the north-eastern Rio Pardo region.

Campaigners had warned that the "uncontacted" group of Indians faced being wiped out if nothing was done to protect them.

Indian rights groups are now urging the government to enforce the ruling, fearing a violent backlash by loggers.

'Act quickly'

Federal Judge Luiz Fux had lifted the order in March following an application from a consortium of logging companies, which convinced him the ruling would damage their business.

But he reversed the judgement after an appeal from Brazil's federal Indian bureau (Funai) and state prosecutors.

The original protection order has been lifted and reinstated on several occasions since it was made in 2001.

It was obtained to protect the Rio Pardo Indians, a group so isolated that their existence has been hard to confirm.

A living area abandoned by Indians in Brazil's rainforest (Pic: Survival International)
Brazilian officials in Rio Pardo found Indian villages, but no Indians
But abandoned villages as well as vital hunting implements and supplies of fruit and nuts have been discovered by experts on indigenous Brazilians.

Sydney Possuelo, head of Funai, has warned the tribe would be "annihilated" if measures were not taken to protect them.

Indian rights group Survival International (SI) has called on the Brazilian government to create a reserve to protect the Indians' land.

SI director Stephen Corry said: "The Brazilian government must take immediate action to enforce the order by removing the logging companies, and it must recognise and demarcate the Rio Pardo Indians' land permanently.

"If it fails, this small tribe, whose name we do not even know, will soon be gone forever."

A delegation of Indians from the state of Mato Grosso, where 50% of all logging in the Amazon in 2003/04 has taken place according to SI, is travelling to the capital Brasilia next week to press for protection of their lands.

Amazon tribe faces 'annihilation'
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Brazil urged to protect Indians
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Country profile: Brazil
11 Mar 05 |  Country profiles


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