Bolsonaro's Temporary Fire Ban Fails to Implement Real Policy and Enforcement Measures to Combat Fires

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Oakland, CA – Today, Brazil's President, Jair Bolsonaro, announced a 120-day ban on fires intentionally set to clear rainforest in the Amazon for agriculture. His decree comes after both Brazilian and multinational companies called on the Brazilian government to implement policies to curb illegal deforestation and increase environmental governance ahead of the so-called "fire season."

In 2019, the world witnessed massive fires burn across the Brazilian Amazon that were directly linked to illegal deforestation and arson used to clear land for agribusiness. Foreshadowing the severity of this year's season, June 2020 saw the number of fires in the Brazilian Amazon increase 20 percent from last year, representing a 13-year high.

Christian Poirier, Program Director at Amazon Watch, issued the following statement:

"Bolsonaro's so-called fires ban is not a solution to today's crisis. Rather, it's a smoke screen tailored to appease the valid concerns of global market leaders. The decree enacts no real accountability or enforcement measures to stop the Amazon from being torched. The very institutions responsible for holding criminal arsonists to account have been systematically dismantled by the regime since it took power. The decree does nothing to rectify this. Bolsonaro has also promoted racist policies that attack the land rights of Indigenous peoples, who are the Amazon rainforest's best stewards.

Illegal deforestation is the fundamental precursor to the Amazon fires, and scientists have recorded that June's deforestation levels were 64 percent higher than last year. This spike is a direct consequence of Bolsonaro's dangerous anti-environmental agenda.

If his regime cared about curbing the destruction of the Amazon it would fully fund and enable the enforcement actions of its own environmental agencies, which are far-better suited to address this crisis than the Brazilian military. It would also cease its reckless attacks on Indigenous peoples and uphold their constitutional land rights as a deterrent to runaway environmental crime."

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