The Week's Essay: Brazil's Bolsonaro reaches new heights in mining free-for-allPublished by MAC on 2020-03-09
Yahomami nation put in severe danger
President Bolsonaro of Brazil is rapidly compounding his unconstitutional drive at possessing indigenous peoples territory.
While deforestation in the Amazon increased by an average of 25% in 21019, and by 80% on indigenous lands, deforestation rates in areas where isolated peoples are present rose by 114% last year compared with 2018; when compared with 2017, the rate of increase was 364%.
Barrage of mining requests targets Brazil’s isolated indigenous peoples
by Maurício Angelo
26 February 2020
(Translated by Matt Rinaldi)
Nearly 4,000 requests have been submitted for mining-related activities on 31 indigenous reserves and 17 protected areas in Brazil, according to recently obtained data from the nongovernmental Socio-Environmental Institute (ISA) and the National Mining Agency.
The targeted areas are home to 71 known isolated indigenous communities, a group whose population is already considered one of the most vulnerable in the country.
The requests are part of a wave of sweeping measures led by President Jair Bolsonaro to clear the way for widespread exploitation of indigenous lands for mining, oil, natural gas, hydroelectric plants, ranching and more.
The Yanomami Indigenous Territory, an area with one of the highest numbers of applications for mining-related activities in Brazil, has seven known groups of isolated peoples living within its borders.
The figures from the nongovernmental Socio-Environmental Institute (ISA) and the National Mining Agency reveal, for the first time, the extent of the mining industry’s plans that could affect up to 71 known isolated indigenous communities. Of the 3,773 requests, the vast majority, or 3,053, are for research purposes.
The ISA has catalogued 120 records of isolated peoples in the Amazon, 28 of them officially confirmed and the other 92 in the process of study and certification by the National Indian Foundation (Funai). That means the proposed mining-related activities threaten more than half of all known isolated indigenous peoples in the Amazon today, a group whose population is already considered one of the most vulnerable in the country.
The threat is compounded by the fact Funai has ordered an end to official supervision of 10 indigenous reserves inhabited by isolated peoples, as reported by the newspaper O Globo.
In practice, this further clears the path for illegal mining and mass invasions of these territories. A report by the nongovernmental Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) recorded 160 invasions of indigenous territories between January and September last year, a substantial increase from the 111 recorded for the whole of 2018. Experts see this as a direct consequence of the policies of President Jair Bolsonaro and the lack of action from Justice Minister Sergio Moro, who has the power to curb these invasions.
Bolsonaro recently signed a bill that clears the way for widespread exploration in indigenous lands for mining, oil, natural gas, hydroelectric plants, ranching and more. The indigenous communities will have no veto power.
In the bill, which now goes to Congress for analysis, Bolsonaro ignored two recommendations from Funai vetoing the exploration of natural resources on indigenous lands where isolated peoples live. As such