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House Members Ring the Alarm Amidst Human Rights Violations in Brazil

June 4, 2020
Press Release

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) joined Congresswoman Deb Haaland (NM-01) and 17 progressive House colleagues in sending a letter to Brazil’s Congressional President Rodrigo Maia in an effort to protect sacred lands from corporate land grabs. The letter comes at a moment in time when the Brazilian Congress considers PL 2633/2020, known as the “Land Grabbers Law,” which would legalize the theft of millions of hectares of public and indigenous land that continues to be illegally invaded and deforested. 
 
The Members wrote: “We are concerned that the Brazilian government has continued to side with industry interests when it comes to mining, farming, and infrastructure projects, which have led to violent attacks against indigenous peoples going largely unpunished. Considering PL 2633 reveals a priority to legitimize stolen lands, further supported by regulations like FUNAI N.9, which allows outsiders to claim land inside Indigenous Lands that have been submitted for legal protection.”
 
The full letter is available here.
 
The letter is signed by U.S. Reps. Deb Haaland (NM-04), Peter A DeFazio (OR-4), Adriano Espaillat (NY-13), Raul Grijalva (AZ-03), Jared Huffman (CA-02), Ro Khanna (CA-17), Barbara Lee (CA-13), Alan Lowenthal (CA-47), Stephen F. Lynch (MA-08), James P. McGovern (MA-02), Grace L. Napolitano (CA-32), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Ilhan Omar (MN-05), Frank Pallone Jr (NJ-06), Mark Pocan (WI-02), Ayanna Pressley (MA-07), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), and Susan Wild (PA-07).
 
Experts and organizations voiced support for the Congressional letter in opposition to the “Land Grabbers Law.”
 
"For the sake of human rights, Indigenous Peoples' livelihoods, and a safe climate, the global community cannot be complicit with the destruction caused by organized crime and land grabbing in the Amazon. The actions of the Brazilian Government and multinational corporations have existential consequences as deforestation increases and Amazon Rainforest nears a tipping point in which this critical ecosystem would fail."  - Daniel Brindis, Greenpeace USA Forests Campaign Director.
 
“Bolsonaro has kept his promise to dismantle indigenous collective land rights pushing these populations into crisis and encouraging deadly land grabs with irreversible human and environmental consequences. It is essential that the Brazilian Congress not legalize this behavior.” - Gimena Sanchez, director for the andes, WOLA

"Bolsonaro's Minister for the Environment, Ricardo Salles, sees COVID-19 as an opportunity to bypass the press and push for further deregulation, favoring land grabbers and furthering illegal deforestation in the Amazon. We must stop this genocide!" - The U.S. Network for Democracy in Brazil
 
"The assault on the Amazon rainforest in Brazil - legalized under the proposed Land Grabber Law and benefiting multinational corporate and financial interests - is an attack on indigenous territories and the peoples that live there. Indigenous forest guardians continue to be threatened and assassinated, a trend that will worsen if Bolsonaro's agenda isn't stopped cold." - Andrew Miller, Amazon Watch Advocacy Director

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