RIO DE JANEIRO — A tribe that calls the Amazon rainforest home is urging the Brazilian government to stop the illegal logging of its land, a watchdog said Friday.
In a statement, Survival International said the Awa tribe has made a "desperate appeal" to Brazil's justice minister to "evict loggers from our land immediately... before they come back and destroy everything."
Consisting of just 450 people, the Awa tribe suffers the fastest rate of deforestation in the Amazon, according to the group.
The appeal is part of a campaign launched on April 25 with the help of British actor Colin Firth, who won an Academy Award in 2011 for his performance in "The King's Speech."
It calls on the public to show their support for the Awa by sending protest messages to the justice minister, Jose Eduardo Cardozo. So far, more than 27,000 people have done so, Survival said.
"Brazil's government must stop ignoring the Awa, and put them at the top of its agenda," said Survival's director, Stephen Corry. "The start of the logging season is a critical time. Pressure must not cease."
Brazil's indigenous population makes up less than one percent of the country's 191 million people and lives on 12 percent of the country's territory, mostly in the Amazon rainforest.
Later this month, more than 100 heads of state and tens of thousands of participants from governments, the private sector and NGOs will converge on the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro for the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.
Ahead of the June 20-22 gathering, Brazil announced this week it planned to preserve an additional 10,000 square kilometers (3,860 square miles) of land and pledged not to let economic woes stop it from implementing other measures to protect the environment.
Photo AFP/File, Lunae Parracho