Missionaries will not be able to enter indigenous areas without authorization

In Brazil, a judge ruled that evangelical missionaries will not be able to enter or contact isolated indigenous communities in the Javarí Valley without prior authorization from the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI). Missionaries who fail to obey this ruling will be fined a thousand reais and could be expelled by the police.

While the judge based his decision, among others, on safeguarding indigenous communities in the context of COVID’s health emergency, it is common in the country to question the involvement of religious groups or leaders, especially Christians, in indigenous community matters.

In February, brazil’s prosecutor’s office requested the suspension of evangelical pastor Ricardo Lopes Días to lead the General Coordination of Isolated and Newly Contacted Indians (CGIIRC)  for incompatibility between the professional profile of the pastor and the position entrusted to him.

In the country, accusations of ethnocide in the hands of Christian missionaries are common, but it is necessary to identify and enhance those actions that recognize and respect the particular characteristics of the worldview of indigenous peoples, without limiting the participation of those who profess a certain faith in the process, only because of their status as believers.

The Observatory of Religious Freedom in Latin America is a program of the Foundation Platform for Social Transformation, a registered charity in Voorburg, The Netherlands under Chamber of Commerce #50264249.

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