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Chavez says no evidence of alleged Yanomami killings

06 september 2012, 16:37
0
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez on Wednesday became the latest senior official to insist there is no evidence of an alleged massacre of some 80 Yanomami indigenous people, AFP reports.

But the human rights commission of the Organization of American States urged his government to probe further.

Venezuela has said it sent investigators Friday to communities in the south of the country along the border with Brazil, where the killings are alleged to have been perpetrated in July by Brazilians mining illegally for gold.

"Neither evidence nor accounts from the indigenous people themselves turned up anywhere," Chavez told a news conference.

The massacre was reported by a Yanomami organization known as HOY.

Several ministers insisted this week there was no evidence of any violence against Yanomami.

But the government says it has reached seven of nine Yanomami settlements, and the situation at the other two remains unknown.

The Interamerican Commission on Human Rights said international law obliges Venezuela to clarify complaints of acts of violence and "punish those responsible and repair the consequences".

An association of indigenous peoples, COIAM, also urged the government Monday to keep investigating, arguing that the Yanomami jungle settlement in question is so remote that the government investigators could not have reached it and reported back so quickly.

Gangs of illegal miners come to the remote corner of the Amazon jungle straddling Brazil and Venezuela in search of gold and diamonds.

In the past, the Yanomami have been victims of physical violence, threats and abductions at the hands of the miners, COIAM said last week.

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