Amnesty International has also launched an online petition, Say no to cattle grazed illegally in the Amazon, which could be signed right here.
The new statistics that reveal that deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon region increased by 9.5 percent year-on-year shows the tragic loss of President Jair Bolsonaro’s policies to systematically undermine environmental protection, Amnesty International said today.
Statistics published by Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (INPE), show that 11,088 km² of rainforest was lost between August 2019 and July 2020, an increase of 9.5 percent compared to the same period the previous year.
By declaring the Amazon region open to business, Jair Bolsonaro has prioritized the profits of large companies over the well-being of vulnerable people.
Statistics show the Brazilian Amazon has suffered the worst damage in 12 years, since 12,911 km² were deforested in 2008.
“By declaring the Amazon region open to business, Jair Bolsonaro is prioritizing the profits of large companies over the well-being of vulnerable people. Protected areas continue to burn so commercial cattle ranches can expand, ”said Richard Pearshouse, Head of Crisis and Environment at Amnesty International.
“Behind these statistics is a very real crisis for some of the most vulnerable people in the Brazilian Amazon. Traditional people and indigenous peoples who live sustainably in protected areas lose the valuable forests that provide them with food, livelihoods and medicine – as well as their own identity. ”
Statistics reveal that 381 km² of rainforest in indigenous territories has disappeared. This is the third largest forest loss in indigenous territories since 2008.
Environmental protected areas lost 1,096 km² of forest (similar to the previous period, which recorded the largest forest loss in environmental protected areas since 2008, with a loss of 1,110 km²).
“The Amazon rainforest is made of rich biodiversity, and is also home to many indigenous and traditional communities. Brazilian authorities have a constitutional obligation to care for this biome, and the communities that live there. Protecting the Amazon rainforest is critical to protecting these people. These deforestation statistics reflect not only a major setback in environmental policy, but also on human rights policies in the Northern region of Brazil, ”said Jurema Werneck, Executive Director of Amnesty International Brazil.
Illegal cattle farming fueled the destruction of the Amazon
Previous Amnesty International research has shown that cattle farming is a major driver of illegal land confiscation in the Reserves and Indigenous areas of the Brazilian Amazon, fueling deforestation and trampling on the rights of indigenous peoples and traditional peoples.
The Amazon region has seen the largest growth in Brazil’s lucrative livestock industry. Since 1988, the number of cows there has nearly quadrupled to 86 million in 2018, accounting for 40% of the national total. Some of this expansion is destroying most of the area’s protected rainforests and Customary Reserves.
In total, 63% of the area deforested from 1988 to 2014 was pasture for livestock – an area five times the size of Portugal. Amnesty International documents this process in a briefing published in November 2019.
Cattle grazing illegally were found in the JBS supply chain
In an investigation published in July 2020, Amnesty International found that livestock grazed illegally in protected areas in the Brazilian Amazon were found in the supply chains of leading meat packer JBS. Amnesty International has found no evidence to suggest that JBS was directly involved in human rights violations.
In September, following pressure from Amnesty International, JBS announced it would introduce him new system to monitor its cattle suppliers, including its indirect suppliers, by 2025. JBS has recognized the risk that cattle grazed illegally in protected areas could enter its supply chain since at least 2009, and previously promised to monitor its indirect suppliers in 2011.
“This timeline is not good enough. In 2009, JBS pledged to monitor its indirect suppliers in 2011 – but here we are in 2020 with another vague promise that it is possible by 2025. Amnesty International again asks JBS to implement these changes at the end of this year, “said Richard Pearshouse.
Rio Jacy-Paraná Nature Reserve
Today, a public hearing was held to discuss a bill at the Rondônia State Congress aimed at reducing the area of the Rio Jacy-Paraná Reserve by 1,520 km².
Most of the inhabitants of the Rio Jacy-Paraná Nature Reserve were evicted by breeders and squatters during the land grabbing over the past two decades. The Reserve is one of the most deforested environmental protected areas in the Amazon. Between August 2019 and July 2020, the Rio Jacy-Paraná Nature Reserve lost 104 km², an increase of 10.1% over the previous period.
According to official data obtained by Amnesty International through a Freedom of Information request, the number of livestock inside the Rio Jacy-Paraná Reserve increased from 83,642 in November 2018 to 105,478 in April 2020.
“If approved, the bill would mean land confiscation arrangements for illegal commercial cattle ranching within the Reserve. This will only encourage further land confiscation in protected areas in the Amazon, ”said Richard Pearshouse.