Every year, thousands of Indigenous Peoples from all over Brazil gather in Brasília, the capital of the country, to share experiences, traditional knowledge, support each other and, most importantly, demand the government protect their rights. But this year, the Free Land Camp (Acampamento Terra Livre, in Portuguese), feels bittersweet. Since the new president Jair Bolsonaro took office on January 1st this year, the new administration has taken measures to weaken the tools to protect the environment, and has not taken any actions to protect Indigenous Peoples, who face violence and threats to their lives, and whose lands continue to be invaded by a greedy and powerful industry. Indigenous Peoples in Brazil have the constitutional right to their traditional lands and have bravely fought to protect them for hundreds of years.
To support the Indigenous communities in Brazil and show Bolsonaro’s government that the world is watching, last Wednesday, on the first day of this year’s Free Land Camp, hundreds of people all over the world demonstrated in front of Brazilian embassies. With banners, portraits of Indigenous leaders, music, art performances and powerful speeches from the Brazilian community, the message from the activists was clear: stand with the guardians of the forest to save the Amazon.
After years of decline, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest is on the rise again. Since 2012, an area the size of two soccer fields being cleared out every single minute. Losing the forest means losing life, not only for the Indigenous Peoples who depend on it for their livelihood but for all of us. From more destructive hurricanes to record-breaking heat waves, the world is already seeing the effects of climate breakdown. We must act now to curb carbon emissions and keep the planet’s average temperature below 1.5ºC.
Indigenous Lands are the most successful way to protect the forest from destruction, but instead of fulfilling its constitutional duties, Bolsonaro’s administration has proposed to stop recognizing Indigenous Lands and open them up to the mining, logging and agriculture industries. That’s why Indigenous Peoples in Brazil need everyone in the world to support them and show they are not resisting alone.
Join the movement – stand with the guardians of the forest to save the Amazon.