UK journalist’s widow thanks Brazil’s indigenous peoples at funeral

26 June 2022, 23:04

Brazil Amazon
Brazil Amazon. Picture: PA

Dom Phillips was killed in the Amazon while researching a book about how to save the world’s largest rainforest.

Friends and family have paid their final respects to British journalist Dom Phillips who was killed in the Amazon while researching a book about how to save the world’s largest rainforest.

Speaking at a cemetery on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, his widow, Alessandra Sampaio, said: “First of all, I would like to express my eternal gratitude to the indigenous peoples, who are with us as loyal guardians of life, justice, and our forests.

“Today, Dom will be cremated in Brazil, the country he loved, his chosen home. Today is a day of mourning.”

Mr Phillips, 57, and indigenous expert Bruno Pereira, 41, were killed on June 5 on their boat on the Itaquai river, near the entrance of the Javari Valley Indigenous Territory, which borders Peru and Colombia.

Three fishermen from nearby communities were arrested. Two of them confessed to the murders, according to the police.

Brazil Amazon
Alessandra Sampaio reads a statement to the media at the funeral of her husband British journalist Dom Phillips (Silvia Izquierdo/AP)

The region has seen a long conflict between indigenous tribes and poor fishermen hired to invade the Javari Valley to catch arapaima, turtles and game.

Mr Pereira, who was an official of Brazil’s Indigenous affairs bureau, fought against these invasions for years and had received multiple threats.

“He was killed because he tried to tell the world what was happening to the rainforest and its inhabitants,” said Mr Phillips’ sister Sian.

“Dom understood the need for urgent change for political and economic approaches to conservation. His family and his friends are committed to continuing that work even in this time of tragedy. The story must be told.”

Brazil Amazon
Alessandra Sampaio, second left, embraces her sister-in-law Sian Phillips (Silvia Izquierdo/AP)

Mr Phillips wrote about Brazil for 15 years, first covering the oil industry for Platts, later freelancing for The Washington Post and The New York Times and then regularly contributing to The Guardian.

He was versatile but gravitated towards features about the environment as it became his passion.

After living in Rio for several years, the couple had moved to the north-eastern city of Salvador, closer to Ms Sampaio’s family, where Mr Phillips taught English to students from poor communities.

They were also in the process of adopting two children.

“As we remember Dom as a loving, fun and cool big brother,” said Ms Phillips, “we are sad he was denied the chance to share these qualities as a father for the next generation.”

By Press Association

Latest World News

See more Latest World News

Britney Spears

Britney Spears’ ex-husband convicted after trying to crash wedding

Trump FBI

FBI seized ‘top secret’ documents from Trump’s home

Montenegro Shooting

Gunman in Montenegro kills 10 before being shot dead by passerby

Author Salman Rushdie

Author Salman Rushdie attacked on lecture stage in New York

Polluted River

‘Huge’ amounts of chemical waste dumped into river in Poland

Polio NYC

Polio detected in NYC’s sewage, suggesting virus circulating

Salman Rushdie was attacked on stage

Police identify suspect after Salman Rushdie stabbed in the neck and abdomen while on stage at New York event

Europe Drought

European drought dries up rivers and shrivels crops

Johnson Johnson-Baby Powder

Johnson & Johnson to end sales of baby powder with talc globally next year

Huge fires have been ravaging parts of southern France

Seven European countries send help to battle ‘monster’ wildfire ravaging southern France

Firefighters tackling a wildfire near Saint-Magne, south of Bordeaux, south-western France (SDIS 33 via AP)

European firefighters join battle to stop French wildfires

South Korea UN

UN chief affirms support for denuclearised North Korea

South Korea Samsung

South Korea to pardon Samsung heir following corruption scandal

Hawaii Wildfire

Large wildfire burning amid drought on Hawaii’s Big Island

J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California

Getty Museum in LA to return illegally exported art to Italy

FBI Office Threat

Suspect who tried to breach FBI office dies in stand-off