‘He’s causing terrible suffering’: Bolsonaro’s ‘death bill’ will devastate the rainforest and its peoples

Public opinion and shareholder action are needed to expose Brazil’s web of power and corruption, and to preserve the communities and habitats Bolsonaro seeks to destroy, writes Charlie Jay

Saturday 24 April 2021 00:01
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<p>If the bill is approved, it could represent an incalculable loss to the 305 indigenous ethnicities in Brazil</p>

If the bill is approved, it could represent an incalculable loss to the 305 indigenous ethnicities in Brazil

Brazil contains an unparalleled level of biodiversity. It hosts more species of mammals, freshwater fish and plants than anywhere else in the world and also has the second highest number of reptile species, the third highest number of bird species, and it holds 60 per cent of the Amazon rainforest. But it is extremely culturally diverse too and is home to 305 indigenous ethnicities, who speak more than 160 languages and have legally recognised rights over more than a fifth of the Amazon.

All this is under imminent threat thanks to Bill 191. Dubbed the “death bill” by Bolsonaro’s critics, the Association of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples (Apib) says the bill “resumes an ethnocidal and genocidal perspective against indigenous people, contrary to what the federal constitution advocates”, and would effectively authorise the invasion of their lands.

Ninety-eight per cent of Brazil’s indigenous land is within the Amazon rainforest, and therefore its preservation is critical not just for preventing irreversible climate collapse, but also for preventing a cultural catastrophe.

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