Join the community
Want to hear about our latest projects, campaigns and events via email?
Illegal gold mining is driving increased deforestation and environmental destruction in the
Yanomami Indigenous Territory (TIY). This project trains young people to use drone technology
to monitor forests and take action against illegal activity.
The Brazilian Amazon is home to over 180 Indigenous groups, including the Yanomami and Ye’kwana Indigenous Peoples of Roraima. The expansion of business, industrial farming and extractive industries such as gold mining threaten this entire region. Within TIY, illegal mining is expanding rapidly and its operations becoming more sophisticated. From October 2018 to August 2022, the area of forest destroyed by mining in TIY grew by 257%, reaching more than 4,400 hectares, whilst also contaminating rivers and other water sources.
(Photo credit: Bruno Kelly/ISA)
To engage Indigenous youth in the political struggle for their forests and future, a qualified group of the neighbouring Munduruku young indigenous leaders will lead a learning exchange to train Yanomami and Ye’kwana young leaders on the use of drones and tablets.
This technology will capture high resolution aerial imagery of deforestation and illegal mining in the Uraricoera macro-region. These images will be used to inform advocacy reports and actions. They will also support Indigenous peoples and campaigners putting pressure on Brazilian authorities to remove illegal invaders, and enforce monitoring and protection of TIY.
By tackling illegal gold mining in TIY, this project contributes to mitigating the global effects of climate change. It also seeks to protect the lives and livelihoods of Yanomami and Ye’kwana Indigenous Peoples whilst engaging the younger generation as future forest defenders. Whilst the project is focused on human rights, we have chosen not to use any photos that could expose identities, due to the security risks involved.
In late January 2023, President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva visited Roraima state, pledging to implement an emergency health plan to tackle the humanitarian health and hunger crisis in TIY caused by illegal mining and an investigation into genocide of the Yanomami by the former government. In early February, he signed a decree to launch a police operation to remove the illegal miners. However, political advocacy and land monitoring measures must continue to ensure Yanomami and Ye’kwana lives, land and livelihoods are protected in the long term.
CAFOD is the official aid agency for the Catholic Church in England and Wales. They work across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, helping the poorest and most marginalised people. CAFOD is working with indigenous people in Brazil to protect their rainforest home, supporting homeless families in their struggle to find housing, and helping young people find opportunities for a better life.
Donate now to secure a future with forests