Hundreds of people gathered outside the Brazilian Embassy in London this morning to stand in solidarity with the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), against the Brazilian government’s anti-Indigenous policies and rollbacks on protections for Indigenous Peoples’ lands and lives.
Since Monday, thousands of Indigenous people have been taking part in a week-long demonstration in Brasilia – the largest Indigenous demonstration in Brazil’s history. This week is critical because the Brazilian Supreme Court will rule on a legal case that could severely limit Indigenous land rights.
The human rights and environmental crises in Brazil are interlinked as their Indigenous Peoples’ are being attacked in order to clear the way for more forest destruction. Landgrabbers and the mining and agribusiness sectors see Indigenous Peoples’ rights as an obstacle to expansion.
Indigenous Peoples, especially in the Amazon and other Brazilian forests and wetlands, are on the frontlines of the fight against irreversible climate change. The UN estimates that the land that Indigenous Peoples live on is home to 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity – carbon-absorbing biodiversity that is crucial in the global fight against climate change.
If Indigenous lands in the Amazon are opened up for large scale industrial farming and mining, the rest of the world will struggle to bring climate change under control. Amidst the “code red” climate emergency, the world cannot afford to lose the Amazon, which helps absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
In London, Amazon Rebellion, Brazil Matters, CAFOD, Greenpeace UK, Parents for Future and Survival International worked together to organise the demonstration and were joined by musicians including folk band Baque Luar and dancer and choreographer Andrea Maciel.
Each organisation handed a letter in to the Embassy as part of the protest, calling for action to protect Indigenous Peoples’ rights and stating an intention to stand with Indigenous Peoples in their fight.
Speaking in Brasilia, APIB said:
“May the country listen to its indigenous peoples. Our lives are linked to the earth, as we live in communion with it. We are the guardians of the forests and all forms of life that live there. We are facing a Congress that continues to push its anti-indigenous agenda. We are fighting against the Time Limit Trick, scheduled to be voted by the Supreme Court on August 25th. We will resist!”
Caroline Pearce, director of Survival International said:
“This is the most critical court ruling for Brazil’s indigenous peoples for decades. The future of hundreds of thousands of people is at stake. It is also a crucial test of Brazil’s judiciary and democracy. It is up to the Supreme Court judges to uphold the constitution which recognizes indigenous peoples’ original rights to their lands as the country’s first inhabitants.”
Paul Morozzo, attending the protest from Greenpeace UK said:
“In July scientists announced that parts of the Amazon rainforest are now emitting more carbon dioxide than they are able to store. Indigenous Peoples are the best guardians of climate critical ecosystems but across Brazil, invasions and destruction of Indigenous lands and brutal attacks against Indigenous Peoples are skyrocketing. This is a critical moment in the global struggle for Indigenous Peoples’ rights, and in the fight against the climate crisis.
“UK supermarkets like Tesco are complicit in these policies while they still count Brazilian meat giants like JBS among their suppliers. JBS is a company notorious for its role in forest destruction and it’s benefitting from the Brazilian government’s radical agenda.”