Protest with flaming tree trunk brings Amazon fires to Brussels

Brussels, 5 November 2019 – Leaders of indigenous communities in Brazil are in Brussels to ask European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans to stop Europe’s contribution to forest destruction and related human rights abuses. Leaders from the Brazilian Amazon, Cerrado, Pantanal and Mata Atlântica regions demonstrated outside the European Commission headquarters with a six-metre flaming tree trunk, displaying a banner reading: “EUROPE BUYING – FORESTS BURNING”.

The delegation will meet Mr Timmermans on 6 November, only days after Paulo Paulino Guajajara, an indigenous forest defender, was shot dead by illegal loggers in Brazil’s Amazon region. Mr Guajajara, who was related to one of the members of the delegation, is the latest victim in a spate of attacks on indigenous leaders and environmentalists since Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro loosened environmental protections.

Print-quality photos of the demonstration free to use here

Nara Baré, general coordinator of the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon, said: “Europe shares responsibility for the bloodshed and forest destruction in Brazil. European consumption increases the pressure on land around the world, and this is the consequence. The EU must pass new laws to keep products that encourage this violence and environmental destruction deforestation off the European market. We are asking EU governments to suspend the Mercosur trade deal until we can be sure that human rights, the forests and the environment are protected.”

The indigenous leaders are travelling around Europe as part of the tour Sangue Indígena: Nenhuma Gota A Mais (Indigenous blood: not a single drop more) organised by Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (APIB, Association of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples). On 1 November, Paulo Paulino Guajajara, an indigenous forest defender, was shot dead by illegal loggers in Brazil’s Amazon region.

The European Commission is considering what action it should take to address Europe’s contribution to global deforestation.

Over 400 companies promised at the Consumer Goods Forum in 2010 that they would end their contributions to deforestation by 2020 – none of them have met that goal. Analysis by Greenpeace International suggests that by the start of 2020 some 50 million hectares of forest – an area the size of Spain – will likely have been destroyed for global commodity production since those promises were made in 2010.

The APIB delegation visiting Brussels is made up of Nara Baré, Alberto Terena, Angela Kaxuyana, Celia Xakriabá, Dinaman Tuxá, Elizeu Guarani Kaiowá and Kretã Kaingang.

Contact:

Sini Eräjää, Greenpeace EU forest policy adviser: +32 (0)476 97 59 60, sini.erajaa@greenpeace.org

Greenpeace EU press desk: +32 (0)2 274 1911, pressdesk.eu@greenpeace.org

For breaking news and comment on EU affairs: www.twitter.com/GreenpeaceEU