International Day of Action for Justice Now
Keep taking action!
December 11, 2012 | Maíra Irigaray
In recognition of the International Day of Human Rights, people all over the world participated in an "International Day of Action for Justice Now" to stop the Belo Monte Dam in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon. While people protested in the streets of Altamira near the dam construction site, a delegation of Kayapo leaders met with UN High Commissioner Navi Pillay in Geneva and hundreds showed solidarity by participating in protests, uploading photos for a photo action campaign and by signing the Justice Now online petition. We will continue to promote the Justice Now campaign until justice is served. If you haven't yet signed the petition or uploaded a photo, please do so here!
Down in Altamira, 150 people went to the streets and installed a dead Christmas tree in front of the Federal Justice building. 56 "presents" symbolized the 56 lawsuits against Belo Monte that have been filed in the past five years in defense of the rights of people of the Xingu who are still waiting for judgment. The protest was attended by the local bishop, students, fisherman and other affected people.
"Currently Altamira is in chaos, residents are being evicted without answers, being kicked out of their homes where they have built lives," cried Don Erwin, Bishop of Prelazia. "They are souls! They are expelled in a malicious way!"
Sheyla Juruna, indigenous warrior of the Xingu, sent a written message on this day of action:
"Our battle is still not over. It is a question of honor, pride, environmental awareness, and human consciousness. It is a life or death question for the Xingu people. We must continue to echo our cries and not let the vast unconsciousness mute our voices. This is a question of life, care for our future generations. It's also a question of sustainable economic development in a region that has been long forgotten by our government. And now the development announced is of mass destruction. The Federal Government calls themselves a democracy but they are dictators."
In Geneva, a delegation of Kayapo leaders including legendary Chief Raoni, Chief Megaron Txucarramae and Bemoro Metuktire, met with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay and then with a human rights mission from the Swiss government. Ms. Pillay said she was very concerned about Brazil's Accelerated Growth Plan (PAC) since it does not respect FPIC. She also expressed concern about Portaria 303, which is a proposed new law that will completely erode indigenous rights and territories in Brazil.
"There are indigenous peoples from the Xingu River that live near the construction of the Belo Monte dam and are being impacted by the project without having been consulted nor understanding their rights," said Chief Megaron said. "This is an unjust situation and for this reason it is important to demand that the Brazilian government understand and respect the rights of indigenous peoples. We need to demand that the government listen to indigenous peoples, that it consults indigenous peoples, and that is follow its own law to have justice now." Their delegation is supported by Planète Amazone and Society for Threatened Peoples.
Chief Raoni, Megaron and Bemoro also participated in the Justice Now photo action campaign. As of yesterday, we received nearly 250 pictures from supporters from all over the world. We encourage you to send yours today.
In San Francisco, CA, Amazon Watch organized a protest and gathered photos outside the SF Brazilian Consulate and a delegation met with Brazilian Consul General Eduardo Ramos. We delivered a copy of the Justice Now letter that was formally sent two weeks ago to the Brazilian Supreme Court. Ramos promised to pass along the message to the government and the Itamaraty in Brazil expressing our concerns.
We are still waiting for a response from the Brazilian Supreme Court. We will continue promoting the photo action campaign on the International Day of Action page in English and Portuguese until we hear from them. Please take a picture in support of the people from Xingu, asking for Justice Now, and send to us at: email@example.com or Instagram@ #belomontejusticenow. This is only a tiny piece of a much bigger picture and strategy in the battle to save the Xingu River!
The people of the Xingu uare calling on YOU to stand with them solidarity:
"People of Brazil and all over the world please help us in our fight for justice, so justice may prevail, as well as our rights be heard. We cannot continue to be ignored, humiliated and massacred because of lack of understanding. My cry today is to STOP BELO MONTE! Because I have dedicated my whole life to this battle, and although I feel overwhelmed, I'm still very hopeful we can win this war." Sheyla Juruna
For JUSTICE NOW!