Posts Tagged 'Brazil'

Stop Land-Grabbing Now!

Nyeleni, November 19, 2011

We, women and men peasants, pastoralists, indigenous peoples and their allies, who gathered together in Nyeleni from 17-19 November 2011, are determined to defend food sovereignty, the commons and the rights of small scale food providers to natural resources. We supported the Kolongo Appeal from peasant organizations in Mali, who have taken the lead in organising local resistance to the take-over of peasants’ lands in Africa. We came to Nyeleni in response to the Dakar Appeal, which calls for a global alliance against land-grabbing.

In the past three days, peasants, pastoralists and indigenous peoples have come together from across the world for the first time to share with each other their experiences and struggles against land-grabbing. In Mali, the Government has committed to give away 800 thousand hectares of land to business investors. These are lands of communities that have belonged to them for generations, even centuries, while the Malian State has only existed since the 1960-s. This situation is mirrored in many other countries where customary rights are not recognised. Taking away the lands of communities is a violation of both their customary and historical rights.

Secure access to and control over land and natural resources are inextricably linked to the enjoyment of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and several regional and international human rights conventions, such as the rights to an adequate standard of living, housing, food, health, culture, property and participation. We note with grave concern that states are not meeting their obligations in this regard and putting the interests of business interests above the rights of peoples.

Land-grabbing is a global phenomenon led by local, national and transnational elites and investors, and governments with the aim of controlling the world’s most precious resources. The global financial, food and climate crises have triggered a rush among investors and wealthy governments to acquire and capture land and natural resources, since these are the only “safe havens” left that guarantee secure financial returns. Pension and other investment funds have become powerful actors in land-grabbing, while wars continue to be waged to seize control over natural wealth. The World Bank and regional development banks are facilitating land grabs by promoting corporate-friendly policies and laws, facilitating capital and guarantees for corporate investors, and fostering an extractive, destructive economic development model. The World Bank, IFAD, FAO and UNCTAD have proposed seven principles that legitimise farmland grabbing by corporate and state investors. Led by some of the world’s largest transnational corporations, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) aims to transform smallhold agriculture into industrial agriculture and integrate smallhold farmers to global value chains, greatly increasing their vulnerability to land-loss.

Land-grabbing goes beyond traditional North-South imperialist structures; transnational corporations can be based in the United States, Europe, Chile, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Thailand, Malaysia and South Korea, among others. It is also a crisis in both rural and urban areas. Land is being grabbed in Asia, Africa, the Americas and Europe for industrial agriculture, mining, infrastructure projects, dams, tourism, conservation parks, industry, urban expansion and military purposes. Indigenous peoples and ethnic minorities are being expelled from their territories by armed forces, increasing their vulnerability and in some cases even leading to slavery. Market based, false solutions to climate change are creating more ways to alienate local communities from their lands and natural resources.

Despite the fact that women produce most of the world’s food, and are responsible for family and community well being, existing patriarchal structures continue to dispossess women from the lands that they cultivate and their rights to resources. Since most peasant women do not have secure, legally recognised land rights, they are particularly vulnerable to evictions.

The fight against land-grabbing is a fight against capitalism, neoliberalism and a destructive economic model. Through testimonies from our sisters and brothers in Burkina Faso, Columbia, Guatemala, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nepal, Niger, Senegal, South Africa, Thailand and Uganda, we learned how land-grabbing threatens small scale, family based farming, nature, the environment and food sovereignty. Land grabbing displaces and dislocates communities, destroys local economies and the social-cultural fabric, and jeopardizes the identities of communities, be they farmers, pastoralists, fisherfolk, workers, dalits or indigenous peoples. Those who stand up for their rights are beaten, jailed and killed. There is no way to mitigate the impacts of this economic model and the power structures that promote it. Our lands are not for sale or lease.

But we are not defeated. Through organisation, mobilisation and community cohesiveness, we have been able to stop land-grabbing in many places. Furthermore, our societies are recognising that small-scale, family based agriculture and food production is the most socially, economically and environmentally sustainable model of using resources.

Recalling the Dakar Appeal, we reiterate our commitment to resist land-grabbing by all means possible, to support all those who fight land-grabs, and to put pressure on national governments and international institutions to fulfill their obligations to defend and uphold the rights of peoples. Specifically, we commit to:

Organise rural and urban communities against land-grabs in every form.

Strengthen the capacities of our communities and movements to reclaim and defend our rights, lands and resources.

Win and secure the rights of women in our communities to land and natural resources.

Create public awareness about how land grabbing is creating crises for all society.

Build alliances across different sectors, constituencies, regions, and mobilise our societies to stop land-grabbing

Strengthen our movements to achieve and promote food sovereignty and genuine agrarian reform

In order to meet the above commitments, we will develop the following actions:

  • Report back to our communities the deliberations and commitments of this Conference.
  • Institutionalise April 17 as the day of global mobilisation against land-grabbing; also identify additional appropriate dates that can be used for such mobilisations to defend land and the commons.
  • Develop our political arguments to expose and discredit the economic model that spurs land-grabbing, and the various actors and initiatives that promote and legitimise it.
  • Build our own databases about land-grabbing by documenting cases, and gathering the needed information and evidence about processes, actors, impacts, etc.
  • Ensure that communities have the information they need about laws, rights, companies, contracts, etc., so that they can resist more effectively the business investors and governments who try to take their lands and natural resources.
  • Set up early warning systems to alert communities to risks and threats.
  • Establish a Peoples’ Observatory on land-grabbing to facilitate and centralise data gathering, communications, planning actions, advocacy, research and analysis, etc.
  • Strengthen our communities through political and technical training, and restore our pride in being food producers and providers.
  • Secure land and resource rights for women by conscientising our communities and movements, targeted re-distribution of land for women, and other actions make laws and policies responsive to the particular needs of women.
  • Build strong organisational networks and alliances at various levels–local, regional and international–building on the Dakar Appeal and with small-scale food producers/providers at the centre of these alliances.
  • Build alliances with members of pension schemes in order to prevent pension fund managers from investing in projects that result in land grabbing.

Make our leaders abide by the rules set by our communities and compel them to be accountable to us, and our communities and organisations.

  • Develop our own systems of legal aid and liaise with legal and human rights experts.
  • Condemn all forms of violence and criminalisation of our struggles and our mobilizations in defense of our rights.
  • Work for the immediate release of all those jailed as a result of their struggles for their lands and territories, and urgently develop campaigns of solidarity with all those facing conflicts.
  • Build strategic alliances with press and media, so that they report accurately our messages and realities; counter the prejudices spread by the mainstream media about the land struggles in Zimbabwe.
  • Develop and use local media to organise members of our and other communities, and share with them information about land-grabbing.
  • Take our messages and demands to parliaments, governments and international institutions.
  • Identify and target local, national and international spaces for actions, mobilizations and building broad-based societal resistance to land-grabbing.
  • Plan actions that target corporations, (including financial corporations), the World Bank and other multilateral development banks that benefit from, drive and promote land and natural resource grabs.
  • Expand and strengthen our actions to achieve and promote food sovereignty and agrarian reform.
  • Support peoples’ enclosures of their resources through land occupations, occupations of the offices of corporate investors, protests and other actions to reclaim their commons.
  • Demands that our governments fulfill their human rights obligations, immediately stop land and natural resource transfers to business investors, cancel contracts already made, and protect rural and urban communities from ongoing and future land-grabs.

We call all organizations committed to these principles and actions to join our Global Alliance against Land-Grabbing, which we solemnly launch today here in Nyeleni.

Globalise the struggle! Globalise hope!

Indigenous from Amazon fight controversial mega dam in Brazil.

A series of mega dams is being planned as a central part of Brazil’s Accelerated Growth Programme, which aims to stimulate the country’s economic growth by building a huge infrastructure of roads and dams, mainly in the Amazon region.

The size of these projects threatens to harm or destroy vast areas of land, upon which numerous tribal peoples, including several groups of highly vulnerable uncontacted Indians, depend for their survival.

The Belo Monte project is a prime example.

Hundreds of Indians from throughout the Brazilian Amazon participated in a landmark protest to highlight the threat to their survival posed by large infrastructure projects, in particular the hugely controversial Belo Monte dam.

Over 500 Indians from 27 tribes converged near the Xingu River in the Amazon, on which the Belo Monte dam is planned to be built, bearing the message: ‘Defend the Xingu: Stop Belo Monte’.

The protest followed the publication last week of a new Survival International report highlighting a worldwide boom in dam building for ‘green’ energy, and its devastating impact on tribal peoples.

If built, Belo Monte would destroy rainforest and reduce fish stocks on which Indians in the area depend for their survival. The influx of immigrants during the construction of the dam threatens to bring violence and disease to the Indians.

Raoni Metuktire of the Kayapó tribe said at the protest, ‘We must never give up, because we are fighting for a right that is ours! Nature is life, it has sustained us until today, so we have to defend Nature as our father and mother who give us life….Is this [dam] what we really want, my friends? Let us stand together against Belo Monte!’.

Following a series of discussions about the dam, the protesters released a Declaration calling for Belo Monte and other large infrastructure projects in the Amazon to be halted.

The protest was organized by the Coordinating Body of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon.

Around 800 Indians are protesting this week in Mato Grosso do Sul state, south of the Amazon, against the assassination of their leaders, the theft of their land and other threats to their survival. The Indians at this protest are particularly emphasizing the critical situation of the Guarani Indians.

118 conflictos mineros en 15 países de América Latina

Los proyectos mineros afectan centenas de comunidades latinoamericanas. Actualmente, de los 337 proyectos mineros en la región, 139 están en conflicto con diferentes comunidades. Esto es lo que revela la Base de Datos de Conflictos Mineros en América Latina.

La Base de Dados, realizada por iniciativa del Observatorio de Conflictos Ambientales (OLCA) y la Coordinación Ejecutiva del Observatorio de Conflictos Mineros en América latina (OCMAL), es un sistema de información para la gestión comunitaria de Conflictos Socio-ambientales mineros en la región latinoamericana.

Hasta ahora, las organizaciones registraron 118 conflictos mineros en 15 países de la región, los cuales afectan a 150 comunidades. Según el Sistema, las comunidades brasileñas son las más afectadas por la actividad: 21 proyectos, de 37 empresas, generan 21 conflictos en 34 comunidades.

De acuerdo con el Observatorio, los conflictos ocurren por la intervención de 190 empresas – la mayoría filiales de transnacionales – que funcionan en los diferentes países de la región. Además de Brasil, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, México, Nicaragua, Panamá, Perú y República Dominicana sufren con el problema.

La Base de Datos de Conflictos Mineros en América Latina tiene el objetivo de proporcionar a las organizaciones, entidades, comunidades y personas interesadas, informaciones sobre los conflictos en la región. La idea es, con esto, seguir las acciones de las empresas mineras en América Latina, con destaque para los proyectos, conflictos, estrategias de intimidación, criminalización, corrupción y cooptación de comunidades y líderes.

El Observatorio acredita que, a partir de esas informaciones, las comunidades podrán gestionar mejor sus conflictos con las empresas. Además del número de conflictos, el Sistema de información presenta documentos relacionados a los actos registrados, tales como regulador, afectado, iniciador; acción, legislación, documentación en general y criminalización de la protesta. En relación al proyecto minero, la Base de Datos añade documentos sobre empresas e interlocutores.

Sin embargo, el Observatorio destaca que la Base aún no está totalmente completa, con informaciones ausentes en algunos casos. La expectativa es que, en breve, el Sistema presente informaciones de otros países y registros de todos los conflictos.

- Se puede consultar la Base de Datos de Conflictos Mineros en América Latina pinchando


Brazilian Guarani tortured and murdered

Brazilian Guarani tortured and murdered. 22 December

A Brazilian Indian has been murdered in the latest in a string of killings related to the theft of his tribe’s land.

The man, Osmair Martins Ximenes, is a Guarani Indian from southern Brazil. Two other members of his community, Kuretê Lopez and Ortiz Lopez, were killed in 2007 by gunmen hired by ranchers, as they attempted to reoccupy their ancestral land.

The Guarani, of Kurusu Mba, demand that their land rights be recognized as soon as possible. They said ‘we are growing impatient with the delay; it is slowly draining us of our life, and exposing us to genocide’.

Meanwhile, around twenty Guarani Indians were tortured on 8th December after they attempted to reoccupy their ancestral land of Mbaraka’y in the municipality of Iguatemi, close to Brazil’s border with Paraguay.

These Guarani were expelled from their land in the 1950s, by cattle ranchers. They have since been living in the overcrowded reserves of Sassoró and Porto Lindo.

Security guards hired by ranchers attacked the Guarani close to the ranches which now occupy their land.

The Indians were beaten up and thrown on the top of trucks with their hands and feet tied up, and five were shot.

Five Guarani were taken to hospital with injuries. The rest of the group remains on the side of the road, with no food or water.

This is the third conflict between Indians and ranchers in the last two months in Mato Grosso do Sul state.

At the end of October, the Guarani teachers Rolindo Vera and Genivaldo Vera disappeared during an attack on their community by gunmen near the city of Paranhos. The body of Genivaldo was later found, and Rolindo is still missing.

In 2007 the Attorney General’s office ordered the government to survey and demarcate all traditional Guarani territories, but the project is bitterly opposed by farmers and cattle ranchers who are supported by the state government, and it has effectively ground to a halt.


September 2020

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