ARTICLE 19 Brazil to play a key partnership role in protecting activists fighting deforestation in the Amazon

ARTICLE 19 Brazil to play a key partnership role in protecting activists fighting deforestation in the Amazon - Civic Space

RIO DE JANEIRO. Working in coalition with Greenpeace, Hivos and indigenous groups from the Amazon rainforest, ARTICLE 19 Brazil will play a key role in a new campaign against deforestation.

The programme, All Eyes on the Amazon, has been made possible thanks to a 14.8 million euro contribution from the Dutch National Postcode Lottery’s Dream Fund. The programme will combine satellite technology, drones and tablets, with the centuries-old knowledge of the Indigenous inhabitants of the Amazon.

Exceptional coalition

To halt deforestation in the Amazon, an exceptional coalition has been forged between environmental and human rights organisations and the prominent Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin (COICA).

The coalition will face numerous risks. “Latin America is the region with the greatest number of murders of indigenous leaders, environmentalists and activists in the world. We therefore feel a great responsibility towards our partners on the frontline, who not only stand up for their rights but also our environment,” said Paula Martins, Director of ARTICLE 19 Brazil.

Shortly after the announcement  of the award Edwin Huizing, executive director of Hivos commented, “This coalition will ensure that the indigenous communities will no longer stand alone. We support them in securing and defending their land rights. Through improved satellite technology and drone photography made by indigenous forest guardians, deforestation will be mapped and filmed quickly and effectively. With this indisputable evidence, indigenous groups can take action themselves.”

Hope for the Amazon

Quick action is needed because in the Amazon, both people and the environment are under more pressure than ever before. The hunt for the last natural resources, such as wood, oil, minerals and precious metals, poses an enormous threat to our planet. More and more scientific studies show that indigenous communities living in rainforests are crucial to the sustainable protection of these areas. However, they often lack the tools, and contacts to defend their rights and the environment effectively.

ARTILCE 19 Brazil will document and publicize cases of intimidation and violence, and support local partners through legal advice, digital and physical safety training and contacts to existing protection networks. One of the coalition partners, WITNESS will work with us to document cases.

“We will also engage with local governments to demand improved protections to safeguard activists,” continued Martins.

Exposed

At the same time, the international supply chains running from the Amazon all the way to retail outlets will be exposed. “To companies, investors and governments that destroy the forest we say ‘we see you, we will follow you, and we will bring you publically to account’,” said Joris Thijssen, Director of Greenpeace Netherlands. “The more indifferent the new Brazilian government becomes toward the environment and the rights of those who live in the Amazon, the more determined we will be to protect them.”

 

Contacts

For more information and interview requests, please contact:

Paula Martins, Director of ARTILCE 19 Brazil,    paula@article19.org

Roman Baatenburg de Jong of Hivos 070-3765500 or 06-83798848, rbaatenburg@hivos.org

Greenpeace Netherlands Press Desk 020-5249596 or 06-2129689, persvoorlichting@greenpeace.nl

The photo attached to this press release is copyright free and by photographer Augusto Escribens. Other high-resolution images are also available for publicity purposes.

All Eyes on the Amazon will be run and implemented by a coalition of eleven environmental and human rights groups and local community groups. In addition to Hivos and Greenpeace, this includes the Association of Indigenous Peoples in the Amazon (COICA), the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS), Digital Democracy, the World Resources Institute (WRI), the University of Maryland (UMD), INTERPOL LEAF, and the NGOS Both ENDS, WITNESS and ARTICLE 19. The Dutch National Postcode Lottery funds the programme.