Journalist Dom Phillips (center) talks to two indigenous men in Aldeia Maloca Papiú, Brazil, on November 16, 2019. Phillips recently went missing in the Javari Valley with Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira. (AFP/Joao Laet)

British journalist Dom Phillips missing in Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, June 6, 2022 – Brazilian authorities must conduct a swift and thorough search for journalist Dom Phillips and ensure he is found as soon as possible, the Committee to Protect Journalists said Monday.

Phillips, a freelance British reporter, was on a reporting trip in the Indigenous territory of the Javari Valley with Indigenous issues expert Bruno Pereira and the pair were due to arrive at the town of Atalaia do Norte, in Amazonas state, on the morning of Sunday, June 5, according to multiple news reports and a joint statement from two Indigenous rights groups.

Phillips and Pereira failed to arrive at Atalaia do Norte that morning, prompting members of the Javari Valley Indigenous Organizations Union (UNIVAJA) to search for them, according to those sources. That joint statement, signed by UNIVAJA and the Isolated Indigenous People’s Rights Observatory, said that the pair had not been located as of Monday morning.

“The disappearance of British journalist Dom Phillips during a reporting trip in the Brazilian Amazon is extremely concerning, and Brazilian authorities must work to locate him and his traveling companion, Indigenous issues expert Bruno Pereira, immediately,” said Carlos Martinez de la Serna, CPJ’s program director, in New York. “Journalists reporting on Indigenous issues are doing critical work, and must be able to do so without fearing for their safety.”

Phillips is a freelance reporter who has contributed to The Guardian, Financial Times, Washington Post, New York Times, Intercept, and other international outlets, according to those news reports. In a statement, The Guardian said it was “very concerned and is urgently seeking information about Mr Phillips’ whereabouts and condition.”

In 2018, Phillips reported on the threats posed by illegal mining and cattle ranchers to uncontacted indigenous groups in the Javari Valley.