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Brazil

    December 02, 2020

    New statistics revealing deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon region increased 9.5 per cent year-on-year show the tragic cost of President Jair Bolsonaro’s policies of systematically undermining environmental protections, Amnesty International said today.

    The statistics, published by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE), showed that 11,088 km² of rainforest was lost between August 2019 and July 2020, an increase of 9.5 per cent when compared to the same period the previous year. 

    The statistics show Brazil’s Amazon has suffered its worst destruction in 12 years, since 12,911 km² was deforested in 2008.

    “By declaring the Amazon region open for business, Jair Bolsonaro has prioritised profits of large companies over the wellbeing of vulnerable people. Protected areas continue to burn so that commercial cattle ranching can expand,” said Richard Pearshouse, Head of Crisis and Environment at Amnesty International.  

    July 15, 2020
    Government data shows steep rise in illegal commercial cattle ranching in protected areas of Brazil’s Amazon Illegal commercial cattle ranching drives land seizures, violence and threats against Indigenous peoples and traditional residents of Reserves JBS urged to implement effective monitoring system by end of 2020

    Cattle illegally grazed in protected areas of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest have entered the supply chain of the world’s largest meat-packer, JBS, Amnesty International said today in a 70-page report, From forest to farmland.

    June 11, 2020

    Rio de Janeiro 10.06.2020 – Today, the Civil Police of Rio de Janeiro State executed a series of search and seizure warrants in relation to the investigation into the brutal killing of human rights defender Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes. The operation culminated in the arrest of firefighter Maxwell Simões Corrêa, who is accused of hiding the weapons used in the assassination and being the close accomplice of Ronnie Lessa who fired the shots. Simões Corrêa's arrest is an important step towards getting to the bottom of this crime and we hope it helps clear up the main questions that remain unanswered: who ordered Marielle’s killing and why?

    Marielle Franco was killed in an ambush that had been thoroughly planned over a number of months. The investigations of the Civil Police and Public Prosecution Service of Rio de Janeiro State identified two people suspected of carrying out the criminal act, Elcio de Queiroz and Ronnie Lessa, who are currently facing criminal proceedings. It was also discovered that other people were indirectly involved in the act, concealing weapons and obstructing the investigations. 

    June 10, 2020

    With ever-growing numbers of infections and deaths from COVID-19, the removal of cumulative data on COVID-19 from Ministry of Health announcements is extremely serious, points out Amnesty International Brazil. Since the start of the pandemic, we have been warning about the lack of adequate measures by the federal government to tackle the crisis. We do not consider concealing data and facts an appropriate response to get through this difficult time.

    In May, Amnesty International Brazil, together with 35 other rights organizations and social movements, launched the Our Lives Matter campaign. The objective of the campaign is for the Brazilian authorities to provide adequate and inclusive responses to address the COVID-19 pandemic without leaving vulnerable segments of the population behind.

    April 05, 2020

    Across Brazil, many Indigenous peoples have gone into voluntary isolation, barricading access roads to protect their villages from the COVID-19 pandemic. As one Indigenous nurse recently told Amnesty International by telephone: “I explain the importance of not leaving our villages. We are over 400 people in this Indigenous territory. If one person gets COVID-19, it can contaminate us all.” 

    Worries about the spread of the virus among Indigenous peoples have increased, as this week the first case among Brazil’s Indigenous peoples was confirmed: in Amazonas state, a 20-year-old Indigenous Kokama woman tested positive for the virus. 

    March 13, 2020

    Two years after the fatal shooting of the human rights defender and Rio de Janeiro city councillor Marielle Franco, and her driver, Anderson Gomes, on 14 March 2018, the crime remains unsolved and has become an example of the impunity regarding violence against human rights defenders in Brazil, said Amnesty International today.

    “Two years is too long to wait. The lack of solid results in identifying those who ordered the assassination, or clarifying the circumstances of the crime, that has characterized the last year of the investigation demonstrates that human rights defenders can be killed in Brazil and that these crimes go unpunished,” said Jurema Werneck, executive director of Amnesty International Brazil.

    October 03, 2019

    In response to the operation by the Civil Police and the Rio de Janeiro Public Prosecutor’s Office that resulted in the arrest of four people and a warrant being issued against former Military Police Ronnie Lessa, who is already in prison accused of carrying out the killing of human rights defender Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Silva, Jurema Werneck, executive director of Amnesty International Brazil, said:

    “We are struck by the existence of a network of people involved in the killing of a human rights defender such as Marielle Franco, who worked for the common good, to benefit the citizens of Rio de Janeiro. We continue to follow the development of the investigations and remain deeply concerned about the delay in identifying who ordered the crime. We hope that everyone involved in the killing will be identified and brought to justice.”

    September 27, 2019

    Twelve countries across Latin America and the Caribbean have signed the Escazú Agreement in a major victory for the environment and human rights that should inspire the rest of the region to follow suit, said Amnesty International.

    Argentina, Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru, St. Lucia, and Uruguay all signed the treaty at the first opportunity today as the UN General Assembly started in New York, while the Dominican Republic and Haiti have also committed to signing in the coming hours.

    “The leadership of the dozen countries who signed the Escazú Agreement today should serve as inspiration for the rest of the region and beyond,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International. “We urge all other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to promptly follow their example for the survival and wellbeing of current and future generations.” 

    September 03, 2019

    Brazilian authorities must investigate and prosecute those responsible for starting illegal fires in the Amazon to prevent further destruction of the rainforest, Amnesty International said today as it launched an online campaign to pressure President Jair Bolsonaro and his government to step up protection of Indigenous territories and environmental reserves.

    “The devastating fires in the Amazon are the symptom of a larger crisis of illegal deforestation and land seizures. On paper Brazil has strong laws to protect Indigenous territories and environmental reserves. Yet President Bolsonaro has actively undermined those protections, resulting in the devastation we see today,” said Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    “While the President has now signed a decree temporarily banning fires for land clearance, this does not eliminate the potential for further fires because he has taken little action to deter or prevent the illegal deforestation and land seizures that drive them.

    August 22, 2019

    Responding to the news of the wildfires that have been raging in the Amazon rainforest for several weeks, Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International said:

    “The responsibility to stop the wildfires that have been raging in the Amazon rainforest for several weeks now lies squarely with President Bolsonaro and his government. They must change their disastrous policy of opening up the rainforest for destruction, which is what has paved the way for this current crisis.

    “Earlier this year Amnesty International documented illegal land invasions and arson attacks near Indigenous territories in the Amazon, including Rondônia state where many of the fires are raging.

    May 23, 2019

    On Tuesday, Amnesty International launched the ‘Brazil for Everyone’ campaign, presenting its concerns and recommendations for guaranteeing, protecting and promoting human rights in the country five months after President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration began.

    The organisation’s positions have been addressed to Bolsonaro in an open letter that the executive director of Amnesty International Brazil, Jurema Werneck, and the Amnesty International Americas director, Erika Guevara-Rosas, intend to deliver to the president personally in Brasilia, where they will be seeking an audience with government representatives until Thursday 23 May. On Monday afternoon, the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a joint statement saying they were open to dialogue with Amnesty International.

    May 21, 2019

    On 21 May, a delegation comprising the executive director of Amnesty International Brazil, Jurema Werneck, and the Amnesty International Americas director, Erika Guevara-Rosas, will visit Brasilia, where they will attempt to deliver to President Bolsonaro and other representatives of the government a letter setting out these concerns, together with recommendations for guaranteeing, promoting and protecting human rights in the country.

    “Some of the measures adopted or proposed by this government over the past five months raise many concerns,” said Jurema Werneck. “They could increase the risk of homicides with firearms. They legitimise a public security policy based on the use of lethal force. They violate the rights of indigenous peoples and Quilombolas. They base drug policy on punitive and ineffective practices. They could increase monitoring of NGOs without justification. They deny victims of the military regime the right to truth, justice and reparations. All of this is accompanied by an overtly anti-human-rights rhetoric which only adds to Amnesty International’s concerns about the human rights situation in Brazil.”

    May 07, 2019
    Illegal land seizures and logging on the rise in Indigenous territories in Brazil’s Amazon  Recent reductions in government monitoring aggravate the risk of conflict Looming dry season set to intensify pressure on traditional lands 

    There is an imminent risk of violent clashes in Brazil’s Amazon region unless the government protects Indigenous peoples’ traditional lands from increasing illegal land seizures and logging by armed intruders, Amnesty International warned today.

    Amnesty International recently visited three different Indigenous territories in northern Brazil where illegal intruders had begun or expanded efforts to seize land and/or cut down trees. Indigenous leaders told the organization that they had received death threats for defending their traditional lands. They also fear new intrusions in the dry season (May/June to October/November) when easier physical access to forests facilitates clearance and burning.

    May 06, 2019

    Amnesty International sent an open letter to the heads of state of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Paraguay today in response to their recent statement on the Inter-American System for the Protection of Human Rights.

    In the letter, Amnesty International affirmed that the system must be safeguarded and that it deeply regrets that the governments of the aforementioned countries want to make the operation of the inter-American regional mechanism subservient to their own interests, in a way that threatens the rights of victims of human rights violations.

    “From Puerto Rico to Honduras and Venezuela, last week we witnessed with alarm the repressive responses to the demands of citizens who express themselves through protest. All countries in the region have to remember that they have a shared obligation to protect human rights,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    March 12, 2019

    Responding to reports that Brazilian police have arrested two men in Rio de Janeiro over the killing of human rights defender Marielle Franco and her driver Anderson Gomes on 14 March 2018, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

    “This week marks one year since Marielle Franco was brutally killed, in an attack which devastated the many communities whose rights she fought to defend. Marielle’s killing was a blatant attempt to silence a brave human rights defender, who had devoted her life to advocating for women, LGBTI people and black youth in Rio favelas.”

    “These arrests are the first sign of progress in an investigation that has barely moved in the year since the killings. We are calling for the Brazilian authorities to ensure that investigations are independent and impartial, and to bring all those responsible, including those who ordered the crime, to justice in fair trials.”

    “There is no better way to honour Marielle Franco’s amazing legacy than by committing to protect human rights defenders and ensuring they can safely continue their vital work.”

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