Brazil starts ‘genocide’ probe, blames Bolsonaro for Indigenous group crisis

Brazil’s justice minister requested an investigation into potential crimes of genocide against the Indigenous Yanomami people Monday, as the country sent further aid and

personnel to respond to a crisis of malnutrition and disease that officials have directly linked to illegal mining. On Monday, days after the government declared a

medical emergency in Brazil’s largest Indigenous reserve, Justice Minister Flávio Dino said he had requested that federal police open an investigation “into crimes of genocide,

failure to provide emergency assistance, environmental crimes and other crimes, since there are reports of embezzlement, corruption and siphoning of public funds meant for

Indigenous health care.” Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who traveled to the Yanomami territories in the north of the country Saturday, has blamed the

previous government for the crisis. “More than a humanitarian crisis, what I saw in Roraima was a genocide,” the president wrote of his visit on Twitter. “A premeditated

crime against the Yanomami, committed by a government insensitive to the suffering of the Brazilian people.” Sônia Guajajara, an Indigenous leader and head of the

recently established Ministry of Indigenous Peoples, said there was a need to “hold the previous government accountable for allowing the situation with the Yanomami people to get

worse, to the point where we find adults weighing as much as children, and children reduced to skin and bones.” Brazil’s right-wing former president Jair Bolsonaro has

dismissed the latest criticism as a “left-wing farce.”