Dom Phillips’ family has spoken out about his lack of love for the murder of British journalist and Indigenous activist Bruno Pereira, while his colleagues say that men’s work would be an inspiration to others.
In a statement issued on behalf of Phillips’ sister, Sian, his brother Gareth, and their partners and children, the family offered its gratitude to those who had participated in the 10-day search.
Repórter Brasil’s news and research website, with which Phillips collaborated, hid the top of its cover. “Of mourning,” he said. “Reporter Brazil continues to investigate violence against traditional people in the countryside, as well as against all those who defend you,” he said.
Thursday, cover of the Repórter Brasil website.
Phillips, 57, and Pereira, 41, disappeared on June 5 at the end of a short trip across the Itaquai River in western Brazil.
Pereira was accompanying Phillips on an information trip for a book on sustainable development in the Amazon, but her ship did not arrive as planned in Atalaia do Norte, not far from Brazil’s border with Peru.
At a press conference on Wednesday afternoon, the head of the regional police, Eduardo Fontes, announced that one of the two men arrested in connection with the disappearance of the couple had confessed to having killed them.
The Philips brothers said in their statement that they were especially grateful for the main efforts of indigenous peoples at a time when it was widely believed that local authorities had taken a lethargic approach to the disappearance of men.
Referring to the couple of the two men, Alessandra and Beatriz, the family wrote: “We are saddened by the confirmation that Dom and Bruno were murdered and we extend our deepest condolences to Alessandra, Beatriz and the other Brazilian relatives of both We are grateful to all those who took part in the search, especially to the indigenous groups who have worked tirelessly to find evidence of the attack. “
The statement continued: “In due course we will offer our perspective on the brave life and important work of these remarkable men, but for the time being, we ask that the representatives of the media allow the family a little peace to deal with. in private what has happened to his beloved Dom.
“We thank the many people who have joined us in urging the authorities to intensify the search and those who have approached with comfort and sympathy.”
The suspect who confessed to being involved in the murder of Phillips and Pereira informed police on Tuesday of the location of the bodies and on Wednesday joined the investigators to recover them.
The area, known as Lago do Preguiça, is a 1-hour, 40-minute boat ride from the river town of Atalaia do Norte and a 1.9-mile walk through dense forest.
Phillips ’wife, Alessandra Sampaio, had issued a statement Wednesday evening in which she spoke of her relief that the bodies had been recovered after a week and a half in agony.
“This tragic result puts an end to the anguish of not knowing the whereabouts of Dom and Bruno,” he wrote.
“Now we can take them home and say goodbye with love. Today we also begin our search for justice. I hope that the research will exhaust all possibilities and provide definitive answers on all the relevant details as soon as possible. “
Pereira’s wife, Beatriz Matos, tweeted: “Now that Bruno’s spirit wanders through the woods and spreads among us, our strength is much greater.”
Guardian editor-in-chief Katharine Viner said she was “deeply saddened.”
“Dom was an outstanding journalist and a longtime contributor to the Guardian,” he said. “His brave and humane journalism has done much to bring the stories of Brazil and Latin America to a global audience, through the pages of the Guardian and other news organizations.
“Bruno Pereira was a well-known defender of the rights of the indigenous peoples of Brazil and fully committed to the traditional peoples of the Amazon. We at The Guardian know this heartbreaking news and all our thoughts are with Dom and Bruno’s family and friends. “
Jonathan Watts, global environmental editor for The Guardian, said he hoped the two men’s lives would be an inspiration to those who cared about the Amazon.
“This is a horror story that will warm anyone who is a journalist, anyone who cares about the Amazon, the Indians, our planetary life support systems,” Watts said. “But I hope it inspires rather than deters editors and journalists, so that there is even more attention to the stories that mattered to Dom.
“I really hope that the work that Dom started can be continued and amplified. And that for me would be the only way a decent thing could come out of something so absolutely monstrous.”
Pat Venditti, CEO of Greenpeace UK, praised Phillips and Pereira as “brave, passionate and determined men”.
In a statement, he said the men “were killed while doing their vital job of illuminating the daily threats to Brazil’s indigenous peoples while defending their land and their rights.”
Venditti accused Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, of giving “political and moral license for predatory activities in and around indigenous lands.”
“The biggest tribute we can pay to Bruno and Dom now is to continue their vital work until all the peoples of Brazil and their forests are fully protected,” the Greenpeace official added.
A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to support the families of Dom Phillips and Bruno Pereira. Give here in English or here in Portuguese.