Bruno Kreisky Foundation

for Human Rights

Bishop Erwin Krautler (Austria)

Erwin Kräutler was born in 1939 in Koblach, Vorarlberg. After his ordination in 1965 he moved to Brazil. In the first few years he worked as a “traveling priest” for many communities on the Rio Xingu. In 1981 he was appointed priest of Xingu, the largest diocese of Brazil. Xingu encompasses an area of approximately 350,000 square kilometers, and at the time had 400,000 inhabitants. Of those 400,000 inhabitants, 3,500 were indigenous peoples.

After a solidarity event with farm workers in 1983, Erwin Kräutler was arrested and interrogated by the military police. In the same year he became president of CIMI, the Conselho Indigenista Missionaro.
After a solidarity event with agricultural workers in 1983, he was imprisoned and questioned by the military police. In that same year he was elected President of the CIMI (Conselho Indigenista Missionaro= Indian Missionary Council) During deliberations of the National Assembly, Bishop Erwin Kräutler worked to ensure that the human rights of the Indians would be anchored in the new constitution of Brazil. Bishop Kräutler saw the realization of his efforts with the introduction of constitutional rights for indigenous groups.

Kräutler is still fighting for the rights of indigenous peoples. The Right Livelihood Award, also known as the Alternative Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Kräutler in 2010 for his advocacy of indigenous ethnic groups.