By Ali Rocha, Brazil Matters
Join activists and volunteers from Brazil Matters, CAFOD, Greenpeace, Survival International, Amazon Rebellion, London Mining Network, and the Brazil Solidarity Initiative to protest in support of indigenous communities in Brazil.
𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗻: April 4th, 5pm
𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲: Brazilian Embassy in London
“This is an emergency call to stand with the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil as they begin their Free Land Camp outside the National Congress in Brasília. Indigenous people are joining together in the capital to protest against attacks on their rights, their lives, their lands and their future. We stand with them.
Deforestation rates in the Amazon are at an all time high and the Brazilian government is trying to force through a series of laws that would undermine indigenous rights, clear the way for mining and make the exploitation of the Amazon and other biomes even easier.
There are around one million indigenous people in Brazil. They depend on their lands for their survival, and the protection of these territories – some of the most biodiverse on Earth – is also key to the fight against climate change.
This current attempt to destroy their lands is a central pillar in the Bolsonaro government’s genocidal attack that could wipe out entire uncontacted tribes and destroy the lands and lives of indigenous peoples nationwide.
The Free Land Camp is the largest assembly of indigenous people in Brazil. It takes place each year during “Indigenous April” and is a protest action where indigenous people occupy Brasília to fight for their rights, their territories, and their survival. This year’s theme is “Retaking Brazil: Demarcate the territories and Indigenize Politics”
This year they are also protesting at a set of bills in Congress that favour land grabbing and the end of environmental licensing, allow for unrestricted use of pesticides, and open up indigenous lands to mining and other industrial activities – bills that threaten indigenous territories and peoples nationwide.
These territories are some of the most biodiverse on Earth, key to the fight against climate change and the future of all humanity.
Since President Bolsonaro came to power in January 2019, we’ve seen unprecedented levels of deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, destruction of socio-biodiversity, land grabbing, degradation of protected areas, invasions of indigenous and quilombola (slave descendant communities’) territories, indiscriminate use of pesticides, and violence and criminalization against traditional and peasant populations, especially women and Black people. The Amazon and other national biomes were destroyed like never before.
Now, in the fourth and final year of his mandate, as his chance of being reelected in the October election seems increasingly slim, the agribusiness and mining lobbies in Congress are trying to accelerate the approval of a set of bills known as the Package of Destruction.
One of the main proposals of this package and of the Bolsonaro government’s genocidal agenda is Bill 191/2020, which opens up Indigenous territories to large-scale mining, hydroelectric and large infrastructure projects. Bolsonaro has used the war in Ukraine in an attempt to justify accelerating voting on this bill in Congress, claiming the extraction of potassium from indigenous land is needed to substitute imports of fertilisers from Russia, blocked by sanctions.. What he didn’t say is that under 2% of potassium reserves are found in indigenous lands. The emergency vote was approved – it is set to return to the table on April 14.
The Package of Destruction goes against everything that Brazil promised to control deforestation and minimise the effects of climate change at COP26, and disrespects article 225 of the Brazilian Constitution, which states that the State has the obligation to maintain adequate environmental conditions for current and future generations.
Under Bolsonaro’s government, deforestation levels are rising to record levels month by month. A study published last week by Nature Climate Change suggests that the Amazon rainforest is losing its ability to bounce back from damage caused by droughts, fires and deforestation, reaching a tipping point, beyond which it will no longer be possible to save it from becoming a savannah. The implications for global climate and biodiversity are immense and only a complete halt to deforestation can prevent this from happening.
For Indigenous Peoples, for the environment and for the health of our planet, we are fighting against this genocidal attack. We support APIB in their call to lawmakers, and especially the president of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco, to ensure that no anti-indigenous and anti-constitutional bill is approved.
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