Haaland, Omar, and a Delegation of Brazilian Congresswomen Call for Global Solidarity in Support of Human Rights and Climate Justice

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Washington, DC – U.S. Representatives Deb Haaland (NM-1) and Ilhan Omar (MN-5) stood alongside a delegation of Brazilian Congresswomen to call for global solidarity in support of human rights and climate justice. At the press conference, Brazilian Congresswomen Joenia Wapichana, Erika Kokay, and Fernanda Melchionna shared their insights about unprecedented attacks against human rights and the assault on the Amazon in Brazil. Haaland and Omar echoed their concerns about Brazilian President Bolsonaro’s relationship with President Donald Trump. Haaland and Omar had invited the delegation of women to the nation’s capitol earlier this year.

During the press conference, Haaland said: ”Today, we build upon a global interest to build bridges, and solidarity in the fight for justice – for human rights, for climate justice, and for a worldwide call for action against policies that put corporations over people…The Trump-Bolsonaro relationship is a threat. It’s a threat to humanity and it’s a threat to the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the land we rely on.”

“Across the world, far right nationalism is on the rise. Just as we are witnessing the chilling rise of rightwing extremism here at home, we are seeing similar developments in Brazil and elsewhere. Our strategies for confronting this dangerous tide cannot be limited to our own countries. All of us around the world have a responsibility to build alliances and share strategies to build a more peaceful and just world. I was so grateful for the opportunity to meet with our Brazilian counterparts this afternoon and look forward to our continued collaboration,” said Omar.

A wealthy campaign donor to President Donald Trump has worked with the Bolsonaro administrations to skirt environmental protections, specifically in the Amazon to increase deforestation profits, which has broader implications for the health of the planet. The Amazon was on fire for much of 2019 exacerbating the climate crisis.

In addition, attacks on Indigenous, LGBTQ, afro-Indigenous groups have escalated under the Bolsonaro regime, similar to the rise in hate crimes in the United States since the election of President Trump.

Joênia Wapichana, the first Indigenous congresswoman in Brazil, issued a statement:

"We, Indigenous peoples, are the main target of Bolsonaro’s government. The Amazon is on fire. Laws and policies to protect the environment and uphold our rights are being dismantled. Our institutions are being gutted. The president has taken action against demarcation of our lands, threatening our existence. This puts lives at risk, especially in the Amazon, where I come from.

Bolsonaro's hate speech motivates increased invasions by miners, loggers and others interested in our lands. Violations of our human rights are increasing. This spells disaster for us. This makes it hard for us to keep doing the work we’ve been doing for millennia to protect the Amazon, its forests, it’s waters and its peoples.

I am here to ask for support from the U.S. Congress and American citizens. To support us in fighting for Indigenous rights in Brazil. To protect the Amazon and its natural resources, adopt measures to stop buying products linked to deforestation: gold, diamonds, meat, oil and wood. To support Indigenous and environmental defenders, whose lives are at risk and continue the solidarity from the American public to Brazil and from your congress to our parliament. "

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