Credo Action

Tell Congress: Stand up for human rights in Brazil

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The petition to Congress reads:

"Stand up for human rights in Brazil. Call on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to hold Bolsonaro accountable by signing the 'Dear Colleague' letter from Reps. Debra Haaland and Hank Johnson."

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    Tell Congress: Stand up for human rights in Brazil

    Brazil's Indigenous peoples and Afro-Brazilian communities are under grave threat. So is the future of the Amazonian rainforests that serve as lungs for the entire planet.

    The new president of Brazil, far-right-wing demagogue Jair Bolsonaro, wants to work with the Trump administration to "develop" the Amazon.1 He intends to open up the region to unfettered logging, mining and development, violating the legal rights of the Indigenous communities who live there. Brazil is already the deadliest country for activists and defenders of the land and environment,2 and under Bolsonaro it is getting worse.3

    The more attention we can bring to these ongoing human rights violations, the harder it will be for Bolsonaro to continue his dirty work with impunity. One way to do that is by making sure our elected officials in Congress know what's happening and are prepared to hold the Trump administration accountable.

    Tell Congress: Stand up for human rights in Brazil. Call on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to hold Bolsonaro accountable.

    In Brazil, Indigenous tribes have a constitutional right to reject mining and development in their territories. That right is a major reason that much of Brazil's rainforests remain intact.4 But now Bolsonaro wants to allow mining on Indigenous lands without consent. He dismantled the government agency tasked with protecting Indigenous lands and he is working to dismantle the country's environmental agency.5 Frighteningly, he claimed – contrary to Brazil's constitution and courts – that “there’s no such thing as an Indigenous people."6

    Along with Indigenous peoples, Bolsonaro is targeting the constitutional land rights of Afro-Brazilian Quilombola communities, founded and organized by escaped slaves and their descendants. The racist underpinnings of his policies are blatant, as when he claimed that Quilombolas "do nothing! They are not even good for procreation."7

    Assassinations in Brazil were on the rise even before Bolsonaro's election. In 2017, at least 57 community leaders were murdered for political reasons.8 Bolsonaro's violent rhetoric will only embolden the agribusiness and mining interests that assassinate community leaders who are defending their land.

    Now is the time to raise our voices, sending a clear message to the Trump and Bolsonaro administrations that we won't tolerate violations against Indigenous peoples and Quilombola communities. By calling on our own representatives to speak up, we can shine a spotlight on this brutal regime and the threat it poses to Indigenous tribes, Afro-Brazilian communities and the future of the Amazon.

    Next week, members of Congress will deliver a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo calling on him and others at the State Department to monitor and defend human rights in Brazil.9 Sign the petition now to make sure your representative's name is on the letter.

    Tell Congress: Stand up for human rights in Brazil. Call on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to hold Bolsonaro accountable.

    References:

    1. Reuters, "Brazil's Bolsonaro wants U.S. to join development plan for the Amazon," Thomson Reuters Foundation News, April 8, 2019.
    2. Global Witness, "Deadliest Year On Record For Land And Environmental Defenders, As Agribusiness Is Shown To Be The Industry Most Linked To Killings," July 24, 2018.
    3. Fiona Watson, Bolsonaro’s election is catastrophic news for Brazil’s indigenous tribes," The Guardian, Oct. 31, 2018.
    4. Rep. Debra Haaland and Joênia Wapichana, "Protecting indigenous lands protects the environment. Trump and Bolsonaro threaten both." The Washington Post, March 18, 2019.
    5. Adam Wernick, "Brazil's Bolsonaro wants to mine on Indigenous lands — illegally," PRI, April 10, 2019.
    6. Carol Giacomo, "Brazil's New President Threatens ‘the Lungs of the Planet’," The New York Times, March 19, 2019.
    7. Rep. Debra Haaland, "Defend Afro-Brazilian and Indigenous Rights in Brazil! Cosign Letter to Secretary Pompeo – Deadline April 22," April 11, 2019.
    8. Global Witness, "Deadliest Year On Record For Land And Environmental Defenders, As Agribusiness Is Shown To Be The Industry Most Linked To Killings."
    9. Rep. Debra Haaland, "Defend Afro-Brazilian and Indigenous Rights in Brazil! Cosign Letter to Secretary Pompeo – Deadline April 22."