The Amazon’s defenders face lethal dangers. Critics say Bolsonaro is making it worse

The Amazon's defenders face deadly risks. Critics say Bolsonaro is making it worse


No clear explanation has yet been made for their disappearance, but Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro on Monday said he believed they had been victims of “malice.” The case has drawn global attention to the perils often faced by journalists and environmental activists in Brazil.

Phillips, a veteran journalist who reported extensively on Brazil’s most marginalized groups and on the destruction that criminal actors are wreaking on the Amazon, had traveled with indigenous affairs expert Pereira to research conservation efforts in the remote Javari Valley.

Though formally protected by the government, the wild Javari Valley, like other designated indigenous lands in Brazil, is plagued by illegal mining, logging, hunting and international drug trafficking — which often bring violence in their wake, as perpetrators clash with environmental defenders and indigenous rights activists.

Between 2009 and 2019, more than 300 people were killed in Brazil amid land and resource conflicts in the…