Emergency in the Amazon

End industrial invasion of the Amazon basin by public and private companies

Plan├Ęte Amazone, Society for Threatened Peoples

For more information, contact:

Ada Recinos at +1.510.473.7542 or ada@amazonwatch.org

The Brazilian government and Congress are in the process of installing structures to exploit rivers and raw materials in Indigenous territories, thus threatening Indigenous populations. In the context of International Human Rights Day, Indigenous Kayapo chiefs Raoni and Megaron are launching a new appeal to the international community. Planète Amazone and Society for Threatened Peoples demand that the Brazilian government respect its country's Constitution and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Raoni has been fighting for over 20 years for a development model that is respectful of Mother Nature. His achievements include the demarcation of over 20% of the Amazon's surface. However, the Brazilian government has recently begun converting the Amazon into industrial land. Large hydroelectric dam projects, such as the highly contested Belo Monte and Teles Pires dams will turn the Amazon Basin into mere sources of electricity and farmland.

Worse, the Brazilian authorities are preparing to exploit raw materials and build dams in Indigenous reserves after discovering large amounts of copper, tin, iron, bauxite, gold and other minerals. Vast amounts of Indigenous lands have been earmarked for industrial mining. Such activities could destroy entire communities, such as the Kayapo and the Yanomani, not to mention the devastating effects on climate and biodiversity. The Indigenous populations concerned never consented to the construction of the Belo Monte dam and anti-construction protests continue to spread, as exemplified by today's International Day of Action for Justice in Belo Monte Now.

Faced with this terrible situation, Raoni and Megaron are once again calling on States and United Nations institutions to exert pressure on the Brazilian government to suspend its development projects in the Amazon. As long as the rights of the affected Indigenous populations are not respected – as stipulated by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples- all construction work should be halted.

Furthermore, the Kayapo call upon world leaders to adopt concrete measures to put an end to the participation of consumer countries in the deforestation of the Amazon. They seek solidarity for Raoni's people and other Indigenous communities, to help them protect their demarcated land and continue to demarcate land inhabited by unprotected Indigenous populations.

During their European trip, the Kayapo delegation will meet with various representatives of UN organizations, including Navi Pillay, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and members of the Swiss government.

The Kayapo leaders will be in Europe until December 15th.

Update: 12/11/12 International Day of Action report back

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