Eye on the Amazon

Brazilian Indigenous Leaders to European Leaders: Not a Single Drop More of Indigenous Blood

Today, a delegation of Brazilian indigenous leaders begins a historic journey in defense of their peoples' rights and territories. Over the next month, leaders of Brazil's National Indigenous Movement will visit twelve European countries to report on the brutal and escalating violations inflicted upon the country's indigenous community since President Jair Bolsonaro took office at the beginning of this year.

Led by the Association of Brazil's Indigenous Peoples (APIB), and in partnership with civil society organizations such as Amazon Watch, the campaign "Indigenous Blood: Not a Single Drop More" aims to pressure the Brazilian government and agribusiness companies to fulfill international agreements on climate change and human rights signed by Brazil – including the Paris Agreement, International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 169, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the New York Declaration on Forests.

The delegation is comprised of powerful and instrumental Brazilian leaders including Sonia Guajajara, Nara Baré, Alberto Terena, Angela Kaxuyana, Celia Xakriabá, Dinamam Tuxá, Elizeu Guarani Kaiowá, and Kretã Kaingang. Together they will seek impactful opportunities for dialogue and call upon European citizens to take meaningful political action by drawing the world's attention to the egregious human rights violations and environmental devastation taking place in Brazil.

Indigenous Blood: Not a Single Drop More

The delegation also aims to inform European authorities and consumers about how Brazilian commodities produced in conflict areas or in indigenous lands are reaching local markets with financing from European institutions. APIB's leaders are calling for dialogue, pressure, denunciation, dissemination, and increased awareness within European society about the situation that indigenous peoples are facing in Brazil, which both threatens the lives of forest peoples and the stability of the global climate.

The journey will begin at the Vatican, with indigenous delegates participating in the Synod for the Pan-Amazon Region, which Pope Francis inaugurated on October 4th, calling for respect for indigenous cultures and urging the world to reject destructive or reductive "ideological settlements." The delegation will then travel to Italy (Turin, Bologna), Germany (Berlin, Munich), Sweden (Stockholm), Norway (Oslo), the Netherlands (Amsterdam), Belgium (Brussels), Switzerland (Geneva, Berne, Zurich), France (Paris), Portugal (Porto), the United Kingdom (London), and Spain (Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia). The agenda includes meetings with government authorities and political leaders, members of Congress of the European Parliament, Green Party members, High Commissioners of International Cooperation, business people, international courts, activists, environmentalists, and artists.

Last April, data from an APIB report, produced in partnership with Amazon Watch, showed how European and U.S. companies, including banks, asset managers, soy traders, timber companies, and leather companies, are complicit in the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. The research analyzed fines levied against Brazilian companies for environmental crimes in the Amazon since 2017 and identified linkages between these entities and commercial interests in the Global North, demonstrating how global markets are enabling the worst behavior of actors in Brazil's agribusiness sector.

Preliminary data published in September by the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) indicates that invasions of indigenous territories exploded in 2019. Intruders, often heavily armed, enter indigenous peoples' lands to illegally mine, log forests, or extract other resources. From January to September, there were 160 invasions in 153 indigenous lands, compared with 111 such cases in 76 territories in all of 2018. Within three months until the end of 2019, there is already a 44% increase in total attacks against indigenous territories and a 101% increase in lands affected by these invasions.

Another recent report, published by Human Rights Watch, showed how criminal networks are driving deforestation and fires in the Amazon, and demonstrated how reduced environmental enforcement under the Bolsonaro regime encourages illegal logging and results in greater pressure on forest peoples, who suffer violent reprisals for defending their territories.

And in August, an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report recognized the role of indigenous peoples as guardians of the forest and their contributions to climate solutions, as their knowledge and practices are key to climate resilience.

These findings, and the reality on the ground in Brazil, demand urgent and decisive action. For APIB, the time has come to amplify these facts by waging a global campaign, of which this month's European delegation is a vital component. As Brazil's indigenous leadership makes clear, genocide against Brazil's indigenous peoples is a pressing threat, and they must now join forces with international allies in their battle for life and the future of the Amazon.

To follow the campaign "Indigenous Blood: Not a Single Drop More" in Europe, follow APIB, Mídia Ninja, and Mídia Índia on social media, as well as the hashtag #NotASingleDropMore. For more information about the official agenda or interview requests, please contact Camila Rossi at crossi@amazonwatch.org.

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