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Is Chevron’s Vendetta Against Steven Donziger Finally Backfiring?

A judge sentenced the human rights lawyer to six months in prison – but the calls for environmental justice are only growing

The Nation | There are signs that Chevron has gone too far, and that relentlessly pursuing a human rights lawyer is damaging its international reputation. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights is only the latest sign of concern and anger. Sixty-eight Nobel Laureates have shown their solidarity; another 475 lawyers and human rights defenders...

Protecting Indigenous People Key to Saving Amazon, Say Environmentalists

Reuters | "What we are seeing is an attack on indigenous people, on their rights, their lives and territories," said Leila Salazar-Lopez, executive director of Amazon Watch. "Indigenous people are the best protectors of the Amazon forest and of biodiversity around our planet ... because they have intrinsic spiritual and cultural connections to the land."

Indigenous Warrior Women Take Fight to Save Ancestral Lands to Brazilian Capital

Jair Bolsonaro is backing a legal move to open up large tracts of indigenous territory to commercial exploitation that tribal members call an "extermination effort"

The Guardian | Sônia Guajajara, a prominent indigenous leader, said: "These are all highly orchestrated measures which are designed to take away the land rights of indigenous people and open these lands up for exploitation … It's all about profit and money. We champion biodiversity, keeping the forest standing, which is precisely what ensures us life. All they...

Indigenous Leaders Push New Target to Protect Amazon from Deforestation

Reuters | "We invite the global community to join us to reverse the destruction of our home and by doing so safeguard the future of the planet," said José Gregorio Diaz Mirabal, lead coordinator for COICA, which represents Indigenous groups in nine Amazon-basin nations.

Amazon Watch is building on more than 25 years of radical and effective solidarity with Indigenous peoples across the Amazon Basin.


This Attorney Took On Chevron. Then Chevron-Linked Judges and Private Prosecutors Had Him Locked Up.

Slate | "It's scary going after a large corporation [and] it's scary going after governments because they have so much power and so much influence that they can do a lot of damage to someone's life," Raveson said. "If the lawyers who bring [environmental justice cases like Donziger's] are subject to biased determinations as to whether or not they should...

A Predator Called Gunvor in the Amazon

Public Eye | The Geneva-based trader Gunvor has imposed itself as one of the main players in Amazonian crude without winning a single tender. With financial support from Swiss banks, Gunvor convinced Ecuador to become heavily indebted to Asian state-owned companies, pushing the country to drill even deeper into its natural reserves to reimburse them. Toxic...

Steven Donziger Describes Contempt Case As a "Charade" As Trial Ends

The environmental lawyer who sued Chevron over environmental pollution faces up to six months in prison

The Intercept | As activists strive to hold fossil fuel companies responsible for their role in the climate crisis, there is growing popular recognition of the significance of Chevron's aggressive legal campaign against the environmental lawyer. But for the third time in the epic legal battle stemming from the pollution, the legal proceedings took place without a...

Brazil’s Bolsonaro Vowed to Work with Indigenous People. Now He’s Investigating Them.

Mongabay | The NGO Amazon Watch also slammed the Bolsonaro government for its "relentless attacks" on Indigenous peoples and the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest. "Funai was meant to protect Indigenous people, not to persecute Indigenous leaders who demand that their government fulfill their obligations to protect its people during a pandemic," said...

“Narcos Are Looking for Me”: Deadly Threats to Peru’s Indigenous Leaders

Communities call for protection after string of killings linked to rush for land to grow coca, under cover of the pandemic

The Guardian | Indigenous communities in Peru’s central Amazon are experiencing an increase in violence, threats and harassment as drug gangs target their land to grow coca, the plant used to make cocaine. COVID-19 restrictions have made the remote region even more vulnerable by slowing state efforts to protect land and eradicate illegal coca cultivation.

The Ongoing Persecution of Steven Donziger

The environmentalist lawyer marks 600 days under house arrest — with no end in sight

The Nation | Chevron's strategy could be backfiring. Over the past few months, a global movement has grown to defend Donziger and his Ecuadorean clients. Some 55 Nobel Prize winners signed a letter defending Donziger; 475 lawyers and human rights defenders released a similar appeal. A blue-ribbon legal Monitoring Committee is closely following Donziger's case;...

BlackRock Must Commit to Indigenous Rights – Not Just Climate Change

Mongabay | "In Brazil the operations of corporations like the ones we mention above, into which BlackRock directs substantial investments on behalf of clients, have profound negative impacts on our communities, our forests, and the climate," APIB wrote. "You therefore have a responsibility for our future. And if the Amazon is destroyed, the future of the...

“I’ve Been Targeted With Probably the Most Vicious Corporate Counterattack in American History”

Steven Donziger has been under house arrest for over 580 days, awaiting trial on a misdemeanor charge. It's all, he says, because he beat a multinational energy corporation in court.

Esquire | Donziger is a human rights lawyer who, for more than 27 years, has represented the Indigenous peoples and rural farmers of Ecuador against Texaco – since acquired by Chevron – which was accused of dumping at least 16 billion gallons of toxic waste into the area of the Amazon rainforest in which they live. Cancer is now highly prevalent in the...

BlackRock to Press Companies on Human Rights and Nature

Bloomberg | Environmental group Amazon Watch welcomed BlackRock's moves but said they didn't go far enough. BlackRock failed to identify transparent expectations, time lines and consequences for company inaction on these issues, according to Moira Birss, Amazon Watch's Climate and Finance Director. "BlackRock should adopt a definitive no-deforestation and...

Ecuador Court Orders End to Gas Flaring by Oil Industry in Amazon

In the Ecuadoran Amazon, at least 447 flares have been burning gas for decades. Local communities say these flares are responsible for the high cancer rates in the area.

Mongabay | "I'm very happy because, finally, justice has been served. We're going to restore nature, for all the sick children, for the people, for the parents who have fought to stay healthy, for the families that have also kept fighting if only to grow a few crops, for the families who live under the flares and have had to abandon their land," says 10-year...

Ecuadorian Amazon: Three European Banks Stop Funding Trade of Oil

BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse and ING have announced plans to exclude the problematic export from their trading activities in response to environmental criticisms

Al Jazeera | Marlon Vargas, president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon, believes "the decision of these banks to stop financing trade of Amazon crude from our territories is a major milestone in our effort to protect our lands, our lives, and our cultures. For too long, the oil industry has wreaked havoc on our peoples...

European Banks Quit Ecuador’s Amazonian Oil Trade

ING, Credit Suisse announce moves to exclude Ecuadorean Amazon oil export from trading activities as more European investors turn their backs on fossil fuels

Wall Street Journal | "The banks identified in our report faced serious allegations of double standards for making climate pledges while continuing to finance the trade of Amazon oil," said Moira Birss, climate and finance director at Amazon Watch.

European Lenders Exit Amazon Oil Trade After Scrutiny by Campaigners

Reuters | Credit Suisse, Dutch lender ING and France's BNP Paribas have decided to stop financing the trade in crude oil from Ecuador, the banks said on Monday, following pressure from campaigners aiming to protect the Amazon rainforest. The role of European lenders in backing the trade came under scrutiny in August, when a report by advocacy groups Stand...

In “Dire” Plea, Brazil’s Amazonas State Appeals for Global COVID Assistance

Mongabay | "[W]e ask for your support in the midst of this emergency fight against COVID-19 in our state. The situation is dire, and our fear is that the same situation we are seeing in the capital Manaus will reach the inland of Amazonas, the traditional and indigenous populations that are in situation of greater vulnerability because of the distance and...

Peruvian Indigenous Leaders Receive Death Threats

"We don't want to be the next victims"

El Comercio | Eight Indigenous leaders from Ucayali and Huánuco have received threats for months from narco-trafficking mafias, land invaders, and illegal loggers. Several days ago, they were in Lima demanding protection from the Peruvian government. They fear for their lives.

Overflight Uncovers Environmental Destruction of Munduruku Indigenous Territory

In the Tapajós River basin, Amazônia Real's team, with support from Amazon Watch, spotted predatory deforestation, fires, and mining activity

Amazônia Real | On September 17, Amazônia Real, in partnership with Amazon Watch, witnessed this attack on the rainforest, Indigenous peoples, smallholder farmers, and biodiversity from up above during a flyover. From the sky, smoke from the fires obscures the environmental destruction on the ground – a combination of extensive deforested areas, pasture farms...

The Amazon’s Frontline Defenders Are Under Siege. Where Are Their Reinforcements?

CNN | Like in the United States, President Bolsonaro of Brazil's incendiary language discredits and all but sanctions persecution of select minority groups. In his address to the UN Assembly last month, Bolsonaro implicated "Brazilians of indigenous ancestry" for the Amazon's raging fires and deforestation. The previous year, he singled out Chief Raoni...

Can Our Culture Survive Climate Change?

The New York Times | Our lives are inextricable from the natural world. The creatures of the rainforest protect us, and in turn we protect them. We are the only buffers protecting our thinning forests. Our battle is not just for the future. It's for the present.

Chevron Is Refusing to Pay for the "Amazon Chernobyl"

The lawyer challenging the oil company's toxic waste dump in Ecuador is under house arrest. We need a boycott.

The Guardian | At a time when so many black Americans, Indigenous peoples, people of color, and white allies are protesting at systemic racism, we'd like to highlight a different story of marginalized people speaking truth to power on behalf of their most basic human rights. It's the story of how "big oil" is now using Harvey Weinstein-like destroy-the-accuser...

A New Justice Movement Emerges to Defend Steven Donziger

The lawyer who helped win a historic Amazon cleanup deal faces six months in prison, but will still not have a jury trial

The Nation | In 2013 Donziger helped win a landmark legal case in Ecuador against Chevron for contaminating a vast stretch of rain forest in the Amazon headwaters larger than the state of Rhode Island. The Ecuadorean courts awarded the 30,000 plaintiffs, who are poor rural farmers and indigenous people, $9.5 billion to clean up the damage. Instead of obeying...

European Banks Urged to Stop Funding Oil Trade in Amazon

Indigenous people in headwaters region say financing harms communities and ecosystems

The Guardian | Marlon Vargas, the president of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon, said: "I wonder if the executives of banks in Europe know the real cost of their financing. How can they possibly sleep peacefully knowing their money leaves thousands of indigenous peoples and communities without water, without food and in...

European Banks Face Indigenous Calls to End Amazon Oil Trade

Reuters | European banks committed to backing action on climate change face allegations of double standards from indigenous groups in Ecuador after a report named them as major players in the trade in oil from the Amazon rainforest.

Dramatic Footage Fuels Fears Amazon Fires Could Be Worse Than Last Year

As dry season starts campaigners sound alarm over "shocking" scale of fires, Bolsonaro doubles down on denials

The Guardian | Official data shows the Brazilian government's efforts so far this year have failed to bring results. Brazil saw more fires in the Amazon this June than in any year since 2007. Brazil's space research agency INPE spotted 2,248, compared with 1,880 in June last year.