TUCSON— Today, Rep. Grijalva released the following statement in response to demonstrations denouncing President Bolsonaro’s actions that are causing severe destruction to the region and its Indigenous peoples.
“I am gravely concerned for the safety of Brazil’s Indigenous peoples and the survival of the Amazon rainforest they inhabit,” said Rep. Grijalva. “Since the last federal elections in 2018, violence against Indigenous communities and invasions of their land have increased rapidly, with no end in sight. The consequences for the Amazon have been devastating. Last year alone, more than 4200 square miles of the rainforest were destroyed. Scientists now warn us that the Amazon is reaching an irreversible ‘tipping point,’ at which the rainforest will no longer generate enough rain to sustain itself.
Sadly, the impact of the Amazon’s destruction extends far beyond the borders of Brazil. The extinction of the Amazon would guarantee the emission of billions of tons of carbon into our atmosphere — with grave consequences for citizens of all nations.
To make matters worse, the Brazilian Congress is moving ahead with legislation to push the Amazon past its tipping point, displacing people in the process. These latest bills would open up Indigenous and quilombola lands to mining and big agri-business; encourage further private seizure of these lands; and would authorize President Bolsonaro to violate Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) on the rights and recognition of Indigenous peoples.
At a time when the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is reporting a ‘code red for humanity,’ I continue to call on President Bolsonaro to reverse his course of environmental destruction — to respect the international laws and norms that guarantee rights and recognition to the Indigenous and quilombola communities of Brazil — and to ensure the health of the Amazon rainforest on which our climate, our shared future, and humanity itself depend.”