Family bid farewell to UK journalist Dom Phillips

Phillips was murdered along with indigenous expert Bruno Pereira

Published in 27/06/2022 - 11:05 By Vinícius Lisboa - Rio de Janeiro

Family and friends said goodbye to British journalist Dom Phillips during a funeral service in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, this Sunday morning (Jun 26). He was killed in Vale do Javari, Amazonas state, where he was working with Bruno Pereira, who was also murdered.

The British journalist’s family members arrived at Parque da Colina cemetery at around 9 am, when Phillips’s wake began. The ceremony was followed by the cremation of his remains, at the same cemetery.

Phillips's widow Alessandra Sampaio and his sister Sian Phillips read pronouncements in Portuguese and English to the press, highlighting the his love for Brazil, his commitment to environmental conservation, and the need to continue his fight.

“Today, Dom will be cremated in the country he loved, his chosen home, Brazil,” she said. “Dom was a very special person, not only for defending what he believed in as a professional, but also for having a huge heart and a great love for humanity.”

Phillips’s family will follow all the developments of the investigations, she went on to say, “demanding justice in its broadest sense,” she underscored. “We renew our fight so that our pain—as well as that of Bruno Pereira’s family and the families of other journalists and environmental defenders, who continue to be at risk—is not repeated.”

Preserving the Amazon

Sian Phillips, the journalist’s sister, pointed out he was a professional who shared a wealth of stories about Brazilians—from the rich and powerful to slum dwellers and indigenous peoples.

“He was killed because he tried to tell the world what was happening to the forest and its inhabitants. His mission confronted the interests of individuals who are determined to exploit the Amazon rainforest without concern for the destructive impact of their illegal activities,” she declared.

Sian Phillips said that Phillips was working on a book project about sustainable development models that can ensure the preservation of the Amazon, both as a home for traditional peoples and as a stabilizing factor for the global climate.

“Dom understood the need for urgent change in both the political and economic approaches to conservation. Family and friends are committed to continuing this work, even in this time of tragedy. This story needs to be told.”

Execution

Outside the cemetery, a group of protesters carried a banner asking: “Who ordered the killings of Dom and Bruno?” However, no evidence has emerged that the criminal action that killed the two men had been ordered, Federal Police said.

In a note released on June 18, federal agents reported that Bruno Pereira was killed with two shots in the abdominal and thoracic region and one in the head, while Dom Phillips was shot in the abdomen/thorax. Used in the murder was typical hunting ammunition.

Dom Phillips was a contributor to British daily The Guardian and had previously produced articles on deforestation in the Amazon. Bruno Pereira was an official with Brazil’s indigenous foundation FUNAI on leave and had reported threats he faced in the region, which was subsequently confirmed by the Federal Police. He worked as a collaborator for UNIVAJA, an association run by local indigenous people, aimed at preventing invasion of the reserve by fishermen, hunters, and drug traffickers.

Last Thursday, the Federal Police transported Phillips and Pereira’s bodies from Brasília to the states where their funerals would take place. Bruno Pereira’s body was cremated last Friday in the town of Paulista, near Recife, Pernambuco state.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Pedro Ivo de Oliveira

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