A Native Brazilian tribal leader visited London this week as a guest of CAFOD to appeal for support for his people. Nailton Pataxo Ha ha Hae is on an awareness-raising mission to Europe with Egon Heck, a member of CIMI, a body of the National Confederation of Bishops of Brazil, who work with indigenous peoples. Nailton comes from the Caramuru-Paraguassu Village in the Bahia region. His people were illegally thrown off their land by farmers in 1982 and since then have been struggling to survive on small plots of land, suffering frequent attacks and barely eking out a living from agriculture and the sale of handicrafts. Eighteen tribal leaders before Nailton have been murdered and he has received many death threats. He said: "Three weeks ago, my country celebrated the 500th anniversary of the Portuguese conquest. But we felt we had nothing to celebrate. When the Portuguese arrived there were more than six million native people in Brazil. After centuries of genocide and forced evictions, there are just 350,000. We organised a peaceful demonstration asking for the rights to live on our own land. Military police broke up the march very violently. Many people are still in hospital." During his visit to England, Nailton met representatives from aid agencies and the Foreign Office, and is asking for their support in calling on the Brazilian government to honour treaties, give back land illegally taken and join most other countries in the world who have signed a convention respecting the rights of the indigenous people.
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