A Voice for Life
ATINI - Voice for Life is a non profitable organization, located in Brasília - DF, that works in defending the rights of the indigenous children. Atini means "voice" in the suruwahá language.A voice in behalf of life, that presents to society a serious thought about indigenous children's homicide, usually called infanticide, while looking to bring alternatives to provide a solution to the problem.
In many parts of Brazil the practice of infanticide is a reality till these days. Every year dozens of children are buried alive, suffocated with leaves, poisoned or abandoned to die in the forest. Loving mothers are many times forced by cultural tradition to betray their instincts and give up on their child. Some of them rather commit suicide than do that. Others have to live with the pain and remorse for the rest of their life. In some cases, the mothers fight for the lives of their children while they can and are forced to live excluded by society or they need to take refuge away from their community. There are many reasons that lead to the death of hundreds of helpless children. Children that are born with some type of mental or physical handicap may be sacrificed. Twins or children born out of relationships that are undesired by the community have no guaranty of the right of life.In certain communities, the mother has the right to kill a new- born, as long as she is breast feeding another child, or if the baby's gender does not correspond to the expectation. In some tribes infanticide has been growing among young mothers. The lack of information, lack of access to the public politics of education and health, associated with the complete lack of hope for the future help perpetuate this practice.
Even though infanticide is a violation of human rights,it ends up being tolerated by the official agencies, under the politics of not interfering in the culture. Even though we have information that point to an increase of the infanticide rate of these last years, it is very hard to reach an accord of an approximate number of victims per year. Many of the deaths caused by infanticide appear covered in the official documents as death caused by malnutrition or undetermined causes.
Our movement began as a result of a woman's struggle. A indigenous woman decided to face the tradition of her society and the bureaucracy of national society with the purpose of guaranteeing the right of life for her handicapped daughter.In the beginning of 2005, Muwaji Suruwaha left the village with her family and started fighting for her daughter Iganani, that suffers of brain paralysis, to receive medical treatment. Iganani is now being treated in a hospital in Brasilia and will only be able to return to her village and live there if she learns how to walk.
We are a group formed by people from different areas of society like NGO's,indigenous associations, companies, churches, and politicians gathered around the same purpose. We respect the cultures and the differences, but above all we respect the human beings with no distinction.We fight to move and mobilize society with the purpose of seeking solutions for this ancestral problem of our nation.We fight to defend the right of life that each child has no matter what their ethnic origin is. We fight to take information to each indigenous community and to create condition for the children that are survivals of infanticide to be treated with respect and dignity.