Destruction of Brazil’s forests and Indigenous Peoples’ lands highlighted in New York City ahead of Brazil President’s speech at the UN
September 19, 2022
Indigenous leaders from Brazil and civil society groups alert world leaders about deforestation and escalating violence at the hands of the current government
The Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), Defend Democracy in Brazil Committee (DDB-NY), Greenpeace Brazil and Greenpeace USA projected images of record deforestation, forest burnings, and Indigenous Peoples’ resistance to the assault on their lives in midtown Manhattan on the cusp of the UN General Assembly, Climate Week NYC and Brazil’s presidential election. In the first half of September alone, at least six Indigenous Peoples were killed in the violence in Brazil, with the most recent assassination of Indigenous leader Victorino Sanches of the Guaraní-kaiowá on 13 September 2022.
The projection calls out Brazil’s Head of State — who is set to open the UN General Assembly on September 20 — for anti-Indigenous and anti-environmental policies that have led to an explosive increase in deforestation along with violence against Indigenous Peoples and environmental defenders.
Recent data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) show that 7,135km2—an area nine times the size of New York City—of the Amazon was deforested from January to August 2022, the highest rate ever recorded for this time period. In August alone, 33,116 illegal fire hotspots were registered in the Amazon, the highest level in 12 years.
Threats to Indigenous Peoples’ lives are an urgent climate issue. Repeated studies have demonstrated that forests and other ecosystems are best protected when Indigenous land rights are respected.
Deforestation is pushing the world’s largest rainforest toward a tipping point, where the rainforest would no longer be able to sustain itself, climate scientists have warned. Beyond the Amazon, other ecosystems across Brazil are under threat by historic highs of deforestation for industrial agricultural production. Land dispossession, violence and human rights abuse are deeply connected to the expansion of industrial agriculture and mining in Brazil. Indigenous Peoples are on the frontlines of these attacks and have been under siege by the Brazilian government’s actions to promote land invasions and impunity to criminals.
Indigenous Peoples are the most threatened for trying to protect their lands and their rights. In 2021, Indigenous Organization CIMI identified at least 305 cases of land invasions impacting roughly 226 Indigenous lands across 22 states in Brazil. This number of cases represents a three fold increase of land invasions reported in 2018 by CIMI. In 2021 alone, 176 Indigenous Peoples were murdered in Brazil. In June 2022, Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira and British journalist Dom Phillips were murdered for protecting the Amazon.
Dinaman Tuxá, Executive Coordinator at APIB said: “Indigenous Lands are the most preserved areas in all of Brazil, but this does not translate into our rights being protected. Every day we see violence increasing, Indigenous Peoples being murdered and the destruction of our territories happening at an accelerated rate. These attacks are results of the weakening of Indigenous and environmental policies by the current government of Brazil. We demand the immediate demarcation of our lands and full protection of our rights and lives, as this is the only way in which we can continue to contribute to the fight against the climate crisis”
Carol Pasquali, Executive Director at Greenpeace Brazil said: “What happens in the Amazon doesn’t stay in the Amazon. All over the world, we are already seeing the impacts of the climate crisis. Further allowing deforestation puts biodiversity, the lives of Indigenous Peoples and traditional communities, and the global climate at risk. World leaders must be accountable and put people and the planet first always. We need our forest standing and its people protected from those who want to make short-term profits off of it.”
Natalia de Campos, co-coordinator at DDB-NY, said: “It is crucial that we raise the voices of Brazilian indigenous leaders on the attacks and devastation they experience and fight first-hand, and in the heart of Manhattan, the financial capital of the world. This year we Brazilians hope to change the course of continuous dismantling of social and environmental policies, with our national congress and presidential elections. Brazilian biomes are essential to keep all of us alive. Greed and mismanagement are killing all biomes, and many of their defenders. If we don’t hear from the people who risk their lives to keep the world alive, we will cease our existence. We are here to stand with them, as they fight for their rights, which are our rights too. The rights to a future.”
Images are available from the: https://media.greenpeace.org/shoot/27MDHUFBHA45
Natalia de Campos, Defend Democracy in Brazil Committee – New York, +1 917-449-0022, [email protected]
Diego Gonzaga, Greenpeace International, +1 415-527-9440, [email protected]
Greenpeace USA is part of a global network of independent campaigning organizations that use peaceful protest and creative communication to expose global environmental problems and promote solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future. Greenpeace USA is committed to transforming the country’s unjust social, environmental, and economic systems from the ground up to address the climate crisis, advance racial justice, and build an economy that puts people first. Learn more at www.greenpeace.org/usa.
APIB (Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil) is an instance of national reference of the indigenous movement in Brazil, created from the bottom up. It brings together indigenous regional organizations and was born with the purpose of strengthening the unity of indigenous peoples, the articulation between the different indigenous regions and organizations in the country, in addition to mobilizing indigenous peoples and organizations against threats and aggressions against indigenous rights. For details visit: www.apiboficial.org
Defend Democracy in Brazil Committee- New York is a committee composed of Brazilian citizens from all regions of Brazil, and international friends and supporters, residing in New York City. DDB-NY advocates for the promotion of social and environmental justice in Brazil from NY, denounces racism, abuses, crimes, and pressures those in power to respect the rights of the Brazilian People. More info at www.defenddemocracyinbrazil.org