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Supreme Court reverses trial that nullified the demarcation of Indigenous Land Guyraroka

Guarani Kaiowá protest in front of the Supreme Court

Credit: Tiago Miotto/Cimi

8 Apr 21

Supreme Court reverses trial that nullified the demarcation of Indigenous Land Guyraroka

In a what was considered a victory by the Guarani Kaiowá people, the Supreme Court (STF) granted an appeal that seeks to reverse the annulment of the demarcation of the Guyraroka Indigenous Land (TI Guyraroka), in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

According to a note issued by the Indigenous Missionary Council (Cimi) on the decision, the case of the TI Guyraroka is emblematic in the struggle of indigenous peoples against the “Marco Temporal” [temporal landmark] – a thesis of the STF that hurts the indigenous right to land, by establishing that indigenous peoples would only have the right to the demarcation of the lands that they were already occupying on October 5,th 1988, the date on which the Brazilian Constitution was approved. In 2014, the demarcation of the Indigenous Land was annulled on the basis of the temporal landmark. Four years later, the Guarani Kaiowá people filed an appeal to annul the decision, whose trial was only resumed in March 2021 – the same trial that now received a favorable decision from the Court.

"Free Earth Camp" faces challenge of halting Covid-19 spread among indigenous peoples

The meeting is on it’s 17th edition

Credit: Apib

5 Apr 21

“Free Earth Camp” faces challenge of halting Covid-19 spread among indigenous peoples

Considered to be the largest indigenous event in the country, the Acampamento Terra Livre (ATL) (Free Earth Camp), organized by the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil Network (Apib), opened its 17th edition on April 5th. For the second year in online format, this year’s ATL has the theme “Our fight is still for life, it’s not just a virus”, regarding the title of the manifesto released by the association in March which faced the challenge to halt the advance of Covid-19 among the indigenous population.

The meeting takes place from April 5 to 30 and is part of “Indigenous April”, a period historically dedicated to the indigenous cause. The complete program is available on the organization’s website and will be broadcasted by Apib’s Facebook profile and by Mídia Índia and Mídia Ninja.

 

In under a month, two Tembé indigenous are murdered in the state of Pará

Leaders denounce rise in crimes against indigenous peoples

Credit: Archive/Tembé People

3 Mar 21

In under a month, two Tembé indigenous are murdered in the state of Pará

After the murder of Isak Tembé during a military police action on February 13, another indigenous of the Tembé ethnic group was killed in Capitão Poço, in the northwest of Pará. Didi Tembé, as Benedito de Carvalho was known, was executed on his motorcycle with a shot to the head while trying to flee from a shootout.

According to a report by Brasil de Fato, out of fear, the indigenous people of the region preferred not to comment on the death. Listened to by the newspaper, Puyr Tembé, vice president of the Federation of Indigenous Peoples of Pará, points to the increase in crimes against indigenous and traditional peoples. “Some strange things are happening in Capitão Poço. It’s not only in Capitão Poço, but the whole of Brazil is going through a very difficult process of criminalization of leaders, of social segments, not only the indigenous. This has been very much in evidence inside the territories”, he said. 

Organizations send open letter to the European Union opposing the EU-Mercosur treaty

Treaty could increase deforestation in Brazil

Credit: Christian Braga/Greenpeace

26 Feb 21

Organizations send open letter to the European Union opposing the EU-Mercosur treaty

A Brazilian Civil Society Organizations Front against the Mercosur-EU Agreement, composed by over 100 organizations, sent an open letter to the president of the Council of the European Union, Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa, and to the ambassadors of the European Union and Portugal in Brazil, Ignácio Ybáñez and Luís Faro Ramos, in which they point out the social and environmental damage that Brazil may suffer if the European Union ratifies the treaty.

They state that the agreement has a “neocolonial characteristic” and stimulates “three important factors of deforestation” in the country, by stimulating the increase in the production of agricultural and mineral commodities and encouraging the expansion of the use of logistic equipment.

“We understand that this Agreement, besides contributing to an escalation of human and social and environmental rights violations, could block Brazil’s development. Therefore, we appeal to the good sense of the international community in order to prevent its ratification.”

Federal Court closes investigation against voluntary fire fighters in Alter do Chão

Activists were accused of starting fires in the region in 2019

Credit: Brigada de Incêndio de Alter do Chão/Reproduction

18 Feb 21

Federal Court closes investigation against voluntary fire fighters in Alter do Chão

At the request of the Federal Public Prosecution (MPF), a Federal Court closed the investigation about the causes of the fires that occurred in September 2019 in the district of Alter do Chão, in Santarém (Pará state), which led to the unjustified arrest of four voluntary firefighters who worked in the region. According to a note from the MPF, there was an “impossibility of determining the authorship of the crime”. “We found that the fire originated in three different locations and reached an area of 1.2 thousand hectares, but we discovered no basic evidence that could lead to the authorship of the crime,” the text says.

In November 2019, following an investigation that pointed to NGOs as responsible for starting the fire, the Pará Civil Police carried out the preventive arrest of the four members of the Alter do Chão Fire Brigade, in addition to carrying out a search warrant at the headquarters of the NGO Saúde & Alegria Project, an organization recognized worldwide for its work in the Amazon. Back then, the civil society received with astonishment and indignation the news and mobilized to prove the activists’ innocence. 

Film about the Yanomami people will premiere at Berlin Film Festival

The movie will premiere in the second semester

Credit: “The Last Forest”/Reproduction

10 Feb 21

Film about the Yanomami people will premiere at Berlin Film Festival

“The Last Forest”, a film by Luiz Bolognesi, who co-wrote the screenplay with Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, writer, shaman and Yanomami leader, was selected for the 2021 Berlin Film Festival, one of the most important festivals in the world. The feature film portrays the struggle of isolated Yanomami indigenous against the mining invaders and its premiere in Brazil is scheduled for the second semester of 2021.

Bolognesi was awarded an honorable mention by the festival in 2018 for his documentary “Ex-Shaman”, about the life of the Paiter Suruí, inhabitants of the Sete de Setembro Indigenous Land in Rondônia state. Internationally recognized for his work in defense of indigenous rights, Kopenawa will make his debut at the Berlinale. 

NGO launches multimedia feature about violence against landless workers, indigenous people and environmentalists

Survey by Repórter Brasil gathers data from the first year of Bolsonaro’s administration

Credit: Daniel Beltrá/Greenpeace

30 Jan 21

NGO launches multimedia feature about violence against landless workers, indigenous people and environmentalists

The multimedia feature “Cova Medida” [Measured Graves], developed by Repórter Brasil, after a report by the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), provides an overview of the violence against landless workers, indigenous and environmental activists in 2019. The survey portrays the 31 murders recorded in the first year of the Bolsonaro adminstration, marked by the struggle for agrarian justice and the impunity of their authors.

Territorial dispute (39%) and defense of indigenous territories (29%) are among the primary motivations for the crimes. There’s also reports of casulaties related to the defense of the environment, labor issues, denunciation of illegalities and even hate crimes. The victims are mostly men (93%), inhabitants of the Legal Amazon (87%), linked to the landless movements (35%) or indigenous people who died defending their land (25%).

After one year of deaths, 61% of investigations are in a halt, and there are no convictions, says the NGO.

According to CPT, there was a 23% increase in the number of conflicts in the field between 2018 and 2019. According to Repórter Brasil, the former Environment Minister, Marina Silva, points out the conniving posture of the president. “The assassins felt that they have a license to kill. They listen to the government’s speech against indigenous people, environmentalists, extractivists and feel right at home, while the victims are helpless and unprotected,” she said.

The increase coincides with the paralysis of the demarcation of indigenous lands – a “promise” made during the elections and which has been fulfilled – and the agrarian reform in Brazil by Jair Bolsonaro. For 2021, the budget of INCRA – the agency responsible for agrarian reform policy – has been reduced by 90%.

Pau d’Arco massacre: four years after police killed 10 rural workers, victims lawyer is arrested and key witness is murdered

The Justice system has yet to punish the murderers

Credit: CPT/Reproduction/via Revista Forum

28 Jan 21

Pau d’Arco massacre: four years after police killed 10 rural workers, victims lawyer is arrested and key witness is murdered

José Vargas Sobrinho Junior, human rights defender and lawyer for the survivors of the Pau d’Arco Massacre – a civil and military police action that killed ten landless workers in 2017 in Pará state – was arrested on the first day of the year, in the city of Redenção, points out a report by the NGO Repórter Brasil. The imprisonment happened because of an “extremely fragile” accusation, his lawyer says, and it was related to the disappearance of Cícero José Rodrigues de Souza, a politician. Vargas was released on January 25, but remains under house arrest.

The day after Vargas’ release, Fernando Santos do Araújo, considered a key-witness to the massacre, was executed in his home in the Jane Júlia settlement in the municipality of Pau D’arco. In a public letter, the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), together with several organizations, points that his killing is an attack on all who fight for the right to land. “Fernando died. The shot that victimized him also made other victims. It hit all of us who fight for the right to land in Pará, the Amazon and in the country. His death forces us to ask: Who killed Fernando? Who had Fernando killed?”, says the text.

The civil and military police officers accused of the murder of the ten rural workers of the Pau d’Arco Massacre are still at free and on the streets while they wait for the trial.

In protest, Ibama’s public servants resign after termination of technical leader

Eduardo Bim, Ibama’s president

Credit: Handout/Ibama

14 Jan 21

In protest, Ibama’s public servants resign after termination of technical leader

After the announcement of the termination of Halisson Peixoto Barreto, national coordinator of the environmental agency Ibama’s sanctions process, the heads of the sections commanded by the Barreto resigned from their positions in protest. Barreto’s departure was a request from Wagner Tadeu Matiota, a Military Police colonel, and the new superintendent of environmental infractions at Ibama (Siam), who took office in December 2020. With the request for collective resignation, all the work in analysis, conciliation and application of sanctions of the agency was paralyzed, points out the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo.

Since 2013, Barreto had been in charge of a team of approximately 300 employees, responsible for processing environmental fines. According to the specialized portal O Eco, officials of the superintendency of Rio Grande do Sul sent a letter rejecting the decision to Ibama’s president, Eduardo Bim. “The exoneration takes place in the midst of a critical moment for the administration, precisely in the area of the sanctioning process. It is worth mentioning here that Mr. Halisson has worked exhaustively in the construction and implementation of the whole environmental fines process”, says the text. Bim said he was unable to overturn the decision.

For Suely Araújo, former president of Ibama and senior specialist in public policies of the Climate Observatory, the departure of the technical leader is another episode of the systematic dismantling of Ibama provoked by the current government. “The leadership is removed, the team is demotivated, public policies are weakened. They get what they want: the weakening of the agency that ‘bothered’ them the most,” she declared to Folha.

Ashaninka people reaches the end of 2020 without Covid-19 cases

Ancestral knowledge and community organization were crucial to prevent the spread of the illness

Credit: Arison Jardim/Apiwtxa Association

22 Dec 20

Ashaninka people reaches the end of 2020 without Covid-19 cases

Following strict social isolation and using their ancestral knowledge, the Ashaninka reached the end of 2020 without cases of Covid-19 in the villages of the Kampa Indigenous Land of the Amônia River in Acre State, in the Amazon region. According to the Special Indigenous Health District (Desei) of the Upper Juruá and Purus River, this is the only indigenous people in the state that remains free of the disease, reported the G1 portal.

Following the recommended security protocols, they vetoed any residents from leaving the villages and prohibited the entrance of visitors. Those who needed to solve pending issues outside the villages, such as going to the bank, have been assisted by a specific commission. Faced with the risk of shortages, the work in the fields and plantations has been intensified throughout the pandemic, resulting in a plentiful and diverse production of fruits, vegetables and greens. The purchase of groceries in the city near Marechal Thaumaturgo, such as salt, coffee, oil and sugar, is carried out by a group designated to make the order beforehand to the local traders.

The ancestors’ inheritance is considered by the Ashaninka of extreme importance for the success of Covid-19. The use of remedies extracted from plants and roots and the tradition of disposing the houses of the residents far from each other are some of the ancestral practices that, according to local leaders, helped the people to face past epidemics such as measles, mumps and flu.

“The Ashaninka people of the river Amônia have a consolidated social organization, and that represents very well the collective interest of the people,” states the leadership Francisco Piyãko in a testimony to the website Amazônia Real.

Folha de S. Paulo, one of the most read Brazilian newspapers, launches environmental monitor to track government actions

The tool accompanies the official government gazette

Credit: Handout/Monitor da Política Ambiental

17 Dec 20

Folha de S. Paulo, one of the most read Brazilian newspapers, launches environmental monitor to track government actions

The newspaper Folha de São Paulo, in partnership with the Política por Inteiro initiative, launched the Environmental Policy Monitor, a tool that gathers official acts related to the environment published in the government official gazette . Through keyword mining, they select publications of interest, which undergo analysis by a team of experts responsible for indicating the most relevant and suggesting a classification. So far, 606 standards and regulations issued by Bolsonaro’s administration have been identified and classified.

With biweekly updates, the project’s goal is “to allow the public to have more knowledge about the federal government activity regarding the environment, which is not always simple, considering that norms for the sector are published together with thousands more related to other areas”.

Brazil has record breaking number of indigenous and quilombolas elected in the 2020 municipal elections

Results are celebrated by the communities who struggle with constant rights violations

Credit: Ribs/via Instituto Socioambiental

18 Nov 20

Brazil has record breaking number of indigenous and quilombolas elected in the 2020 municipal elections

Official data from the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) and social movements indicate that Brazil elected a record number of indigenous and quilombola [afro-brazilian traditional communities members] candidates in the 2020 municipal elections. There were at least 220 indigenous – 10 mayors, 10 deputy mayors and 200 councilmen – and 57 quilombolas – one mayor, one deputy mayor and 55 councilmen – according to the Instituto Socioambiental (ISA).

The information on indigenous candidacies is based on the self-declaration made to electoral justice, registered by the TSE portal, and on the mapping carried out by organizations associated with the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil Network (Apib). According to Apib, the elected candidates belong to 47 peoples and 85 municipalities from all regions of Brazil. Compared to 2016, there has been an increase of almost 12% in the number of indigenous candidates elected, considering only the official data of the TSE. The ISA report also highlights the states that led the list of elected candidates in 2020, with Amazonas in first place (38), followed by Paraíba (18), Pernambuco (17) and Roraima and Bahia, with 15 each. Listened by the NGO, Kléber Karipuna, of Apib coordination, acknowledges in the 2020 elections an important victory of the indigenous movement: “Even in this situation of pandemic, which hindered these candidacies, it is a number considered satisfactory and significant growth of representativeness in the powers, both legislative and executive, and throughout Brazil”.

The survey of quilombola candidates was done by the National Coordination for the Articulation of Rural Black Quilombola Communities (Conaq), which estimates an increase of 54% in candidacies compared to the municipal elections of 2016. For the organization, this is the first time that the quilombola population participates in an expressive way in electoral disputes. “This result represents above all the recognition of the tireless struggle of these leaders for their territories,” said Antônio Crioulo, who accompanied the mobilization in the 23 states in which Conaq operates

In Maranhão, a state that is protagonist of the quilombolas struggle against the expansion of the Alcântara Launching Base, marked by removals and violations of rights, 14 quilombolas councilmen were elected, 11 of them in Alcântara, a municipality that houses the Brazilian Air Force project.

Indigenous and quilombola groups organize against impacts of major infrastructure works in Pará State

Kayapós indigenous block highway BR-163 in Novo Progresso, Pará

Crédito: Instituto Kabu/Handout

23 Sep 20

Indigenous and quilombola groups organize against impacts of major infrastructure works in Pará State

In August 2020, a protest by Kayapo indigenous groups blocked highway BR-163, that connects Cuiabá (Mato Grosso state) to Santarém (Pará state) to demand the renewal of the Basic Environmental Plan – Indigenous Chapter (PBA-CI) linked to the environmental licensing necessary for the road construction, which started in 2008. Even considering health risks associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, the organized indigenous groups occupied BR-163 by the Novo Progreso Municipality in Pará, one of the main agricultural produce transport routes in the country. A federal judge issued an injunction allowing the Road Police to remove the blockade. After a week of occupation, the indigenous left and decided to wait for a court ruling on the matter. 

A month later,  the pressure seemed to have worked: in September, a judge ruled in favour of the indigenous and ordered the federal government to renew the PBA-CI to minimize and compensate damages of the road construction, according to a report by Repórter Brasil. The measures of the PBA include community protection and control of Indigenous Lands Menkragnoti, Baú and Panará and support to develop sustainable economic activities in the area influenced by highway BR-163. 

In another community-based resistance initiative in Pará, on September 17th, the Federation of Quilombola Organizations in Santarém (FOQS) issued a formal request to assist the civil inquiry led by the Federal and State Prosecution offices against the construction of a fuel harbour by company Atem’s Petrol Distribution. Although 97% of the construction is already finished, a federal judge ruling in May stopped the building of the port.

Campaign aims to reduce forest fires in Santarém (PA)

Initiative raises awareness about safe use of fires for preparing the soil

Crédito: Projeto Saúde & Alegria/Handout

21 Sep 20

Campaign aims to reduce forest fires in Santarém (PA)

The campaign “United community preserves life” was launched in Santarém, Pará State, with the aim of preventing accidental forest fires that originate from controlled bush burning practised by small farmers and traditional

Amazon communities. The initiative offers guidance on how to prepare the soil with safety and how to get permits from related authorities and introducing techniques for cultivating without using fire. Many local stakeholders got together to run the campaign, including federal Institute Chico Mendes for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio) and its field programs at the Tapajos National Forest and Extractivist Reserve (Resex) Tapajós-Arapiuns, Pará state Civil Guard, the 4th Fire Department and community groups such as the Federation of the Tapajos National Forest, The Resex-Tapajoara Organization and NGOs such as Projeto Saúde e Alegria. 

 One year ago, forest fires in the Santarém and Alter do Chão regions gained international attention after a state police inquiry led to the preventive arrest of voluntary firefighters (brigadistas) that worked with environmental NGOs in the region.  In August 2020, after months of official investigation, the Federal Police dismissed the participation of the brigadistas in the forest fires.

Covid-19: Brazilian youth raises R$ 900,000 to support indigenous peoples

Brazilian youth during a protest against the destruction of the environment

Credits: Friday For Future Brasil/via Twitter

24 Aug 20

Covid-19: Brazilian youth raises R$ 900,000 to support indigenous peoples

150 young Brazilians from age 17 to 29, inspired by the organization Fridays for Future, globally promoted by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, collected over R$ 900,000 to support Amazon  indigenous peoples during the pandemic.

The campaign SOS Amazon emphasizes the role of indigenous peoples and river-dwellers in protecting the environment, while also underlining the vulnerable conditions that they are submitted to during the pandemic. “They are facing a health care crisis, loss of income, hunger and threats to their territories”. They used the hashtag #DefendTheDefenders to promote the campaign.

Environment Parliamentary Caucus calls for Minister Salles to be impeached

The Federal Senate in Brasília (DF)

Crédito: Ana Volpe/ Senado/CC BY-NC 2.0

5 Jun 20

Environment Parliamentary Caucus calls for Minister Salles to be impeached

The Environment Parliamentary Front filed an impeachment request to the General Attorney’s Office against the minister of the Environment, Ricardo Salles. The document, 42 pages long and signed by 70 representatives, lists impeachable offenses and administrative irregularities committed by Salles and claims that the minister and president Bolsonaro “advocate for environmental deregulation, the loosening of environmental legislation to benefit certain economic activities that, because of their high impact, must be, by the strength of the law and of our federal constitution, regulated, controlled and restricted, such as gold mining, logging, and agribusiness and stock farming activities in general.”

Ibama public servants  protest against federal government

Environmental agents protest in front of the Ministry

Crédito: Asibama-DF/via Congresso em Foco

5 Jun 20

Ibama public servants protest against federal government

On June 5th,  World Environment Day, public servants and workers from the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) gathered outside the Ministry of the Environment, in Brasília, the country’s capital, to protest against minister Ricardo Salles and president Jair Bolsonaro and in defense of the environment. The protesters held signs and banners asking for the resignation of Minister Salles and referred to the ministry’s leaked discourse in a cabinet meeting in April calling  for the deregulation of environmental legislation using the pandemic as a distraction. The workers also protested against president Bolsonaro and defended the role of public service. In an article by the website Congresso em Foco, Alexandre Gontijo, president of the Association of Servants and Environment Specialists (ASIBAMA-DF) said that the government doesn’t understand the importance of environmental conservation for the development of the country and denies science.

NGOs demand ousting of environment minister; agribusiness corporations want him to stay

Salles suggestions to deregulate environmental norms faced public protest

Credits: Handout

26 May 20

NGOs demand ousting of environment minister; agribusiness corporations want him to stay

NGOs and civil society organizations published a full-page ad at the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo and repudiated the suggestions from the environment minister, Ricardo Salles, to deregulate environmental laws and norms while the pandemic distracted the public and the press. The text, signed by Greenpeace, World Wildlife Fund (WWF), SOS Mata Atlântica, Socioenvironmental Institute (ISA), ClimaInfo, and the Climate Observatory asked for the firing of the minister.

Two days later , 70 agribusiness and corporate organizations, among them the National Agriculture and Stock Farming Association (CNA) and Soy Producers Associations (Aprosoja Brasil), published a response in the same space. They wrote that the “bureaucracy is destructive” and fully supported Minister Salles.

Covid-19:  APIB  Committee will track and register pandemic among indigenous people

Initiative will monitor Covid-19 affects among indigenous

Crédito: Handout/APIB

13 May 20

Covid-19: APIB Committee will track and register pandemic among indigenous people

The Indigenous People Articulation of Brazil (APIB) launches the National Committee for Indigenous Life and Memory aiming at monitoring the pandemic among the indigenous populations. One of the main drivers behind the creation of the committee is the negligence of the Brazilian State regarding the impact of Covid-19 in the traditional communities. Indigenous leaders say that the number of deaths is much higher than what is being officially reported by the Special Secretariat of Indigenous Health (Sesai), a Ministry of Health agency. Until May 12th, the Committee registered a total of 78 deaths among indigenous people, while Sesai registered 19. The difference between the numbers on infected cases is also huge: 371 versus 258.

Public prosecution asks for the nullification of order that gives amnesty to Atlantic Rainforest destroyers

Salles order violates Atlantic Rainforest Law

Crédito: Welington Pedro de Oliveira/Fotos Públicas

6 May 20

Public prosecution asks for the nullification of order that gives amnesty to Atlantic Rainforest destroyers

The Federal Public Prosecution Office (MPF) filed a lawsuit at a Federal District court to nullify the order 4.410/2020, which implements a recommendation by the Federal Attorney’s Office (AGU) that recognizes as consolidated areas the Permanent Preservation Areas (APPs) at the Atlantic Rainforest that were deforested until 2008. This allows landowners to resume production in their properties. The order uses the Forest Code, a general law, to hurt the Atlantic Rainforest Law, a special law, that forbids the occupation of deforested areas inside APPs.The Brazilian Association of Environmental Public Prosecutors (Abrampa) and the NGO SOS Atlantic Rainforest were also signatories of the lawsuit.

Covid-19: Indigenous people set blockades in 12 states to guarantee isolation

Blockade in Xakriabá Indigenous Land tries to stop Covid-19 spread

Foto: Povo Xakriabá/Handout/via De Olhos Nos Ruralistas

14 Apr 20

Covid-19: Indigenous people set blockades in 12 states to guarantee isolation

To contain the pandemic in indigenous territories, over 23 ethnic groups built, by their own initiative, blockades and barriers on access roads to their villages, according to an article by the website De Olho Nos Ruralistas. The blockades happened in 12 Brazilian states: Acre, Roraima, Rondônia, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Maranhão, Tocantins, Minas Gerais, Paraná, Santa Catarina e Bahia.

In the State of Minas Gerais, the Military Police violated the blockade and invaded the Indigenous Land Xakriabá with tow-trucks and cars, approaching the population without their consent. At the Buerarema municipality, Bahia State, the mayor asked for help to break the blockades and called the Tupinambá “alleged Indians”.

Covid-19: In the Amazon, Indigenous people expel invaders to contain virus spread

Illegal gold mining camp in Kayapó Indigenous Land, Pará state

Crédito: Felipe Werneck/Ibama/via CC

6 Apr 20

Covid-19: In the Amazon, Indigenous people expel invaders to contain virus spread

To contain the spread of the new coronavirus, caiapó leaders from Turedjam, Amazon Pará State, expelled 30 gold diggers from their land. “We always wanted to stop mining in our land. With the risk of contamination, we discussed and came to a consensus”, said Takatkyx Kayapós, a community leader, to Reuters.

The National Indigenous Foundation (Funai) wasn’t a part of the negotiations, but declared to the press that it is “working to keep indigenous territories safe” in allegiance with the Federal Police and the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Natural Resources (Ibama).

One year ago, the Ministry of the Environment exonerated 21 out of 27 regional inspectors. President Bolsonaro accused “a minority inside Funai” of blocking the development of the Amazon “to profit with the indigenous peoples”.

Covid-19: In open letter, indigenous people from Tocantins call for prevention plan

Group asks immediate government response for claims of the indigenous peoples in the region

Crédito: Camila Almeida/iStock

31 Mar 20

Covid-19: In open letter, indigenous people from Tocantins call for prevention plan

A regional newspaper published an open letter signed by 20 indigenous leaders from cerrado state of Tocantins, calling on authorities to “expand and implement the Action Plan to Prevent the new Coronavirus (Covid-19)  to the indigenous peoples of Tocantins“, developed by indigenous activist Narubia Silva Werreria. The group stressed the vulnerability of the indigenous populations regarding the virus and the need of “urgent and effective preventive measures” to stop the pandemic in indigenous territories.

Environmental public servants criticize Bolsonaro’s family project of a “Brazilian Cancun”

Rock formation in a Federal Reserve in Angra dos Reis (RJ)

Crédito: Adriana Gomes/ICMBIO/Acervo/via G1

30 Jan 20

Environmental public servants criticize Bolsonaro’s family project of a “Brazilian Cancun”

The National Association of Environmental Public Servants (Ascema) spoke out against the bill presented by senator Flávio Bolsonaro, the president’s older son, to create a tourism area in the southern coast of Rio de Janeiro. The project includes the revocation of the decree that creates Tamoios Ecological Station, a highly sensitive conservation unit in the region. Nicknamed “Brazilian Cancun”, by the president since last year, the area is currently protected by strict environmental laws. The environmental servants believe that the bill “threatens our environmental heritage and the life of many Brazilians”.

NGOs, social movements and politicians file criminal denounce against the Minister of the Environment

Grupo pede apuração de possíveis de crimes cometidos pelo ministro do Meio Ambiente

Crédito: Reprodução

22 Jan 20

NGOs, social movements and politicians file criminal denounce against the Minister of the Environment

Ceará’s Bar Association, Greenpeace and other entities and NGOs, in alliance with politicians and social movements representatives, presented a formal denunciation to the Brazilian Attorney-General’s Office against the Minister of the Environment.

They took action based on a story from newspaper Folha de S. Paulo which detailed  the participation of environmental infractors in a reunion with minister Salles in December 2019. That meeting resulted in the suspension of federal inspection and control in the Extractivist Reserve Chico Mendes in the Amazon region.

Catholic Church Synode takes place at the Amazon region

Church discussed indigenous rights, environment and the Amazon

Jeffrey Bruno/Wikimedia Commons/via CC BY-SA 2.0

12 Oct 19

Catholic Church Synode takes place at the Amazon region

Pope Francis celebrated the opening mass for the Amazon Synode, in the Saint Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.  The Synode gathered bishops and other guests from 9 countries of the Biome to debate issues concerning the Catholic Church work in the region, the environment and local residents, including indigenous peoples.

During a 10-minute homily, the Pope criticised the recent forest fires that ravaged the Amazon, asked that the church does not limit itself to a “maintenance pastoral” and that the synode has the inspiration to “renew the pathways to the church in the region”. A group of Brazilian indigenous linked to CIMI (Missionary Indigenist Council) attended the celebration, together with more than 200 cardinals and bishops. At the end, the group held a banner inside de Basilica with the message “against the theft, destruction and invasion of indigenous territories”. 

Less than a week later, at a Conservative Congress organized by Federal Deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro, far-right groups attacked the Synode and Pope Francis. They complained about Dom Claudio Hummes, who is close to the Pope and also engaged in human rights struggles in Brazil, saying that he is a “personal friend of former president Lula”. They also attacked the Liberation Theology and a “red sect” inside the church, labelling it “tyranny”, and placing the Synode as a grave menace to Brazil’s soverignty over the  Amazon.

Protests against forest fires are organized throughout Brazil

Protest in defense of the Amazon in Manaus, Amazona State

Crédito: Alberto César Araújo/Amazônia Real/via Fotos Públicas

23 Aug 19
Former ministers release statement criticizing Bolsonaro’s environmental policies

Former ministers of the Environment during a meeting in São Paulo University

Crédito: Leonor Calasans/IEA-USP/Handout

8 May 19

Former ministers release statement criticizing Bolsonaro’s environmental policies

In a historic and unprecedented reunion, seven former ministers of the environment, who worked for the past 5 federal administrations in almost 30 years, gathered at the University of São Paulo to publish a joint statement repudiating Bolsonaro’s government policies for the environment. In the document, the former officials write that current policies “compromise Brazil’s image and credibility in the international arena” and demand a “permanent and constructive dialogue” between the government and civil society. Besides criticising the administrative reforms and budget cuts at the Ministry of the Environment, the statement also underlines the climate denial narrative, the frequent attacks on scientists monitoring deforestation and against Ibama agents, the risk of increased deforestation and forest fires and the trend to weaken licensing processes and parameters. Minister Salles responded on the same day with a written note to the press, where he basically dismissed all the risks or blamed them on the previous administrations. As the year went on, most of the risks identified by the former ministers in their document became a reality. 

Indigenous movements unite against government policies

Movements fight against Bolsonaro’s measures that harm indigenous land demarcation

Crédito: Mobilização Nacional Indígena/Handout

24 Apr 19

Indigenous movements unite against government policies

More than 4,000 leaders from indigenous peoples and organizations, representing 305 communities, gathered in Brasilia, Brazil’s capital, between April 24th and 26th, during the XV Terra Livre Camp (ATL). The camp became a resistance landmark and a voice of indignation against president Bolsonaro and other State agents against indigenous rights. On the last day of the occupation, the indigenous people marched through Brasilia and formalized letters to the Ministry of Health, in order to maintain SESAI to care for basic indigenous health, and to the Ministers of Justice and of Agriculture, repudiating Provisional Measure 870. MP 870, introduced by Bolsonaro’s government, aims to remove the power to identify and demarcate indigenous lands and to analyse environmental license on projects that affect indigenous reserves from the Minister of Justice and put it under the Ministry of Agriculture, in a clear constitutional violation.

After pressure, government backs off from changing indigenous health care

Indigenous protesters occupy State Congress in Amazonas

Crédito: Alberto César Araújo/Aleam/via Amazônia Real

28 Mar 19

After pressure, government backs off from changing indigenous health care

After pressure from indigenous groups protesting across Brazil, the Minister of Health stepped back and announced that SESAI (special  secretary on health services for indigenous people) would remain at federal level and continue to be operated by the Ministry of Health. The announcement came after a meeting between the Minister and representatives of indigenous groups in Brasilia, marking an important victory for the traditional communities.

Organized civil society reacts

ISA criticises Bolsonaro’s ministerial reform

Crédito: Marcos Corrêa/PR/Via Wikimedia Commons

9 Jan 19

Organized civil society reacts

A civil society critical analysis of the first proposals of the government for the environment concluded that its approach to the presented ministerial reform was the most radical since 1990, and that 40 years of struggle to advocate, approve and implement Brazilian social and environmental policies and safeguards were at stake. “The Ministry of the Environment not only lost political leverage but also is now under the direct influence of economic interests from other sectors of Bolsonaro’s administration. This indicates that the environmental agenda is not a priority to this government; they are trying to destroy the Environmental Ministry without being held accountable for it”. 

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