Dom Phillips, a British journalist, went missing in Brazil’s Javari Valley.

Journalist Dom Phillips and Bruno Araujo Pereira, an employee of Brazil’s National Fund for Indigenous Peoples (FUNAI) on vacation, have been missing for more than 30 hours, according to the Indigenous Organization’s Coordinating Council.

An organization known as UNIVAJA said satellite information showed the couple’s last known location in the community of San Rafael early Sunday morning, where they were supposed to meet with a local leader who never showed up.

After that, the missing couple planned to make a two-hour trip to Atalaya do Norte but never arrived, said the organization, which dispatched two rescue teams on Sunday to search for them.

Home to thousands of indigenous people and some 16 non-contact groups, the Javari Valley is a patchwork of rivers and dense forests that are difficult to access.

The search for Phillips and Pereira continues. The Brazilian federal prosecutor’s office and the federal police are investigating the disappearances, and according to Eliecio Marubo, UNIVAJA’s legal representative, the state’s navy and military police are also involved in the search.

Amazonas Governor Wilson Lima has ordered the deployment of a specialized police force to boost search and rescue operations.

These women are fighting for their ancestral land and the survival of the Amazon.

Death threats reported

In a press release released on Monday, UNIVAJA said Phillips and Pereira received death threats prior to their disappearance.

“We emphasize that during the week of disappearance, according to reports from UNIVAJA employees, the team received threats on the ground. The threat was not the first, ”the release says.

The area is under government protection, but repeated incursions by land robbers, illegal miners, illegal hunters, and illegal fishermen have previously led to bloody conflicts.

In September 2019, another indigenous worker, Maxiel Pereira dos Santos, was killed in the same area, according to Brazilian prosecutors.

In a statement, a union group representing workers at Brazil’s indigenous protection agency FUNAI cited evidence that the killing of dos Santos was in retaliation for his efforts to crack down on illegal commercial mining in the Javari Valley, Reuters reported at the time.

Javari Valley, Amazon, Brazil, February 15, 2016

FUNAI, the government agency for the protection of indigenous peoples, told CNN that it was following the case, but stressed that Pereira was not on duty when he disappeared.

Phillips is a longtime contributor to the British newspaper The Guardian, and editor-in-chief Jonathan Watts called on the Brazilian authorities to take immediate action.

Dom Phillips, an excellent journalist, regular contributor to the Guardian and great friend, has gone missing in the Javari Valley in the Amazon after making death threats to fellow indigenous Bruno Pereira, who also went missing. Calling on Brazilian authorities to urgently launch a search operation, Watts tweeted on Monday.

“The Guardian is very concerned and is urgently seeking information on the whereabouts and condition of Mr Phillips. We are in contact with the British Embassy in Brazil, as well as local and national authorities, to try and establish the facts as soon as possible. Phillips Monday article.

The British Council is in contact with the Brazilian authorities as Phillips is a British citizen. “We are in contact with the local authorities in Brazil following the news of the disappearance of a British citizen in the Amazon region. We are providing consular support to his family,” Diego Lobo of the British Council told CNN.

“The Safety of Press Workers”

Press organizations expressed concern about the disappearance and noted the danger of highlighting illegal mining operations in the region.

Indigenous boys & # 39;  drowning raises allegations of illegal mining

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) tweeted on Monday: “CPJ is extremely concerned about reports that journalist Dom Phillips has gone missing during a journalistic trip to the Brazilian Amazon. We urge the Brazilian authorities to urgently step up efforts to find Phillips.”

Meanwhile, the Association of Foreign Press Correspondents in Brazil and the Association of Foreign Correspondents of São Paulo called on the Brazilian authorities to take “immediate action”.

“We also demand that the Brazilian government take decisive action to ensure the safety of press workers, Brazilians and foreigners who work in this region and who have been subjected to several threats to their work in this conflict zone related to irregular mining,” they said. in a statement.