Belo Monte Halted: Norte Energia's Lies and Our Demands to Reverse the Damage Done

Xingu Alive Forever Movement

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Ada Recinos at +1.510.473.7542 or

Original version in Portuguese here

In the last week, Brazil's Federal District Court of the 1st Region (Regional Federal Tribunal TRF1) voted to annul Legislative Decree 788 of 2005, which permitted the licensing and construction of the Belo Monte dam even before an environmental impact study (EIA) was conducted. The project is now stopped until impacted Indigenous peoples are consulted by the National Congress – with power of veto – and the whole process of discussion of viability and authorization of the hydroelectric dam to be reinstated in accordance with the law.

The decision by the TRF1 partially upheld an appeal by the Federal Public Ministry and annulled one of the biggest affronts to the Federal Constitution and to the International Labor Organization Convention 169 committed by the Brazilian government in the last years, as clarified by Judge Antonio Souza Prudente, presiding over the process.

Still in the last week, in response to the Justice decision – classified as "inadmissible" by Norte Energia S. A. – the company released a statement which unravels a chain of incongruences. The company

  • Claims to have guided their actions with respect to the Constitution, which was evidently contradicted by the decision made by TRF1.
  • Claims to have rigorously fulfilled all the legal requirements of Belo Monte, while being target of a fine of R$7 million from the Environmental State Agency (IBAMA) and various law suits from the Public Ministry (MPF) for noncompliance of pre-conditions of the previous license and installation (construction) license.
  • Claims that no Indigenous land will be directly affected by the dam, while negotiating and not complying with the measures to minimize the impacts. Incoherently, in the same note that states the Indigenous peoples will not be affected, affirms that "during the meetings in the villages, all information about the project was provided, which included the impact, mitigations, and compensations established in Indigenous component, approved by the National Indigenous Agency (FUNAI)".
  • Claims all necessary clarifications were provided to the Indigenous peoples, while the Company's employees were detained at the Muratu village for one week precisely for the lack of clarity about the mechanisms that would allegedly be adopted to enable the navigation after the river is completely dammed.
  • Claims that the Indigenous people, by free will, support Belo Monte, while throughout the whole process of the implementation of the works, demonstrations contrary to dam had multiplied, culminating in an occupation of weeks on the coffer dam, between the months of June and July.
  • Claims that the halting of Belo Monte will leave more than 20 thousand unemployed, while their own numbers count 12 thousand employees, 9 thousand being direct jobs and 3 thousand indirect.
  • In conclusion, the company makes illegal threats of retaliation by stating, as if speaking in behalf of the government, that the public financing of the Sustainable Regional Development Plan for Xingu (PDRSX), which is suppose to attend to 11 municipalities of the region impacted by Belo Monte, will be suspended.

This said, and in the context of the standstill of the hydroelectric dam, the Xingu Alive Forever Movement publicly demands from Norte Energia and from the government the following clarifications:

Considering that the decree that illegally authorized the construction of Belo Monte dam and its licenses was annulled, when will the following emergency measures be taken care of to reverse the main impacts suffered by affected communities and the environment?

  • Destruction of the three cofferdams (temporary blockages) already built on Xingu and the restoration of the free flow of the river and its navigability.
  • Reforestation of the native vegetation from the 238 hectares that have been deforested to allow the construction of the work camps, and surrounding areas degraded by the construction, such as the streams of Paquiçamba.
  • Restitution of the areas of small farmers that were forcibly evicted.
  • Reforestation of plantation crops, primarily cocoa, of the areas confiscated.
  • Restitution of the areas and reconstruction of the riverside houses forcibly confiscated and demolished, such as Santo Antonio Village.
  • Compensation to the rural communities, river-banks communities, Indigenous peoples and fishermen for economic, moral, environmental, and cultural damages.

The Xingu Alive Forever Movement compliments, congratulates and honors the decision of TRF1 and of Judge Antonio de Souza Prudente, for returning to the country a bit of faith in justice and in the premise that the Constitution has to be respected in default of economic and political interests.

We celebrate the halting of Belo Monte as a reaffirmation of the validity of our fight and of the thousands of supporters of environmental and human rights in Brazil and in the world. We will be mobilized to support and defend this historic decision of Justice, the Federal Constitution and the international commitments assumed by Brazil against all attacks that may suffer. But we consider that it is not enough to stop a crime; it is necessary to remedy and cure all the ills caused by it.

In name of life at Xingu, we call for justice now!

Movimento Xingu Vivo para Sempre (Movement Xingu Alive Forever)

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