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puce BRAZILIAN ELECTIONS: Tipping point for the Amazon forest and indigenous peoples

The first round of the Brazilian presidential election was held on Sunday, October 2. The outgoing president, Jair Bolsonaro, collected 43.2% of the votes against 48.4% for his rival, former president Lula [1]. A close and worrying result, which leaves doubt on the results of the second round which will take place on October 30. This moment constitutes a tipping point for the Amazonian forest and the indigenous peoples, and in fact for the governance of the land and the natural resources in Brazil.

The emergency goes far beyond the country’s borders. Deforestation of the "lung of humanity" has reached its highest level since 2008 [2] under Bolsonaro: 13,000 km2, slightly more than the area of the Ile-de-France (12,012 km2). Today, it is advancing at the alarming rate of more than one million hectares per year.

Bolsonaro has removed all limits to the development of agribusiness, placing himself entirely at its service. He has guaranteed them de facto immunity, which encourages illegal deforestation for large scale cropping, as well as the implementation of mining and hydroelectric projects, including on the lands of indigenous peoples.

One of Bolsonaro’s election promises in 2019 was that he would "not give an inch of land to indigenous peoples." He has kept his word...The policies he has implemented in favour of agribusiness have encouraged land grabs and violence. The area affected by land grabs increased by 45% between 2018 and 2021 to 71 million hectares. According to the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) between 2018 and 2021, the number of conflicts over land increased by 12.5% [3], and illegal occupations on indigenous lands increased: +141%.

Violence has resulted in the killing of 430 indigenous people between 2018 and 2021 [4]. More than 60,000 peasant families have been affected by these land conflicts in the last three years. This violence is directly attributable to the weakening of the organizations dedicated to the preservation of the forest and the defence of indigenous and peasant communities.

aGter supports the Brazilian organizations fighting for the rights of peasants and indigenous peoples. The global ecological importance of the Amazon rainforest requires the future government of Brazil to be up to this challenge.


[4Conseil Indigéniste Missionnaire (CIMI), « Violence Against Indigenous Peoples of Brazil – data from 2021 » [PDF online], 2021.


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