Amazon in Focus 2016

Amazon in Focus 2016

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Since its beginning 20 years ago, Amazon Watch has been deeply committed to defending indigenous peoples' rights and territories, for they are the best guardians of their rainforest homes. We stand with the U'wa of Colombia who inspired the world with their call to protect their sacred territory and keep the blood of mother earth in the ground. We stand with the Kichwa of Sarayaku who expelled oil companies and the military from their territory and won a historic case against the Ecuadorian government for violating their rights. We stood with the communities devastated by Chevron and Occidental petroleum and won. We also stood with the Xingu's indigenous and riverine communities to resist the construction of Belo Monte Dam when others had given up.

We recently completed a four-year strategic plan that builds on our work over the last 20 years to strategically tackle the Amazon's gravest threats. Considering that indigenous lands hold 80% of global biodiversity, it is no surprise that extractive industries want their resources. If left to them, the Amazon's Sacred Headwaters would become one big oil field, and the watersheds of the Brazilian Amazon would be destroyed by agribusiness and mega-dams. There is another way!

Amazon Watch continues to stand with indigenous allies in defending their territories and sacred natural areas as industrial "No Go Zones." We are committed to supporting and amplifying Sarayaku's Kawsak Sacha, or Living Forests, proposal in defense of all life in the Amazon by keeping the oil in the ground. We want to expand this model throughout the Amazon, so that places like Yasuní National Park and the Xingu and Tapajós rivers will never again be considered for industrial development. We are also waging international market campaigns to expose and pressure governments and corporations that are causing harm. Our new Amazon Crude Campaign aims to reduce demand for rainforest-destroying oil. We recently began working with Brazilian allies to expose the financiers of environmental and indigenous rights law rollbacks.

But really, these campaigns are just the tip of the iceberg. To truly protect the Amazon, we must build an international mandate to respect the rights and territories of indigenous peoples. The movement is growing, and I hope you will join us in demanding justice for all life on Mother Earth.

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