If ethical prohibitions against, say, infanticide vary based on the culture, whose ethical precepts take precedence when these cultures collide? This Foreign Policy article looks at the conflict between the Brazilian government and certain Amazonian peoples who have their own rules governing who should be killed and why.
"The evangelical missionaries who helped Kanhu [a disabled indigenous child] and her family move to Brasília, the capital of Brazil, have since spearheaded a media and lobbying campaign to crack down on child killing. Their efforts have culminated in a controversial bill aimed at eradicating the practice, which won overwhelming approval in a 2015 vote by the Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of Brazil’s National Congress, and is currently under consideration in the Federal Senate, its upper house. But what may seem an overdue safeguard has drawn widespread condemnation from academics and indigenous rights groups in the country. The Brazilian Association of Anthropology, in an open letter published on its website, has called the bill an attempt to put indigenous peoples 'in the permanent condition of defendants before a tribunal tasked with determining their degree of savagery.' The controversy over child killing has raised a fundamental question for Brazil — a vast country that is home to hundreds of protected tribes, many living in varying degrees of isolation: To what extent should the state interfere with customs that seem inhumane to the outside world but that indigenous peoples developed long ago as a means to ensure group survival in an unforgiving environment?"
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