Development for whom?

On February 5 2020, the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro signed a project that aims to create rules to regulate mining and the implementation of hydroelectric plants in indigenous territories in Brazil.

We the indigenous peoples recognize these actions as an affront to the rights of indigenous peoples. Brazil is in an alarming situation of danger. A reality that has been repeated through the mandates of different governments in my country, and which has intensified with the extreme right-wing government, violating international treaties and placing the environmental agenda as an ideological agenda. We, the indigenous peoples of Brazil, are suffering the worst attack to our rights, we are practically living a new process of colonization, where our rights of self-determination and real control over our lands and territories are limited.

It is necessary to express our concern in the defense of the rights of indigenous peoples, in addition to the acts of criminalization, persecution and murder of human rights defenders, especially environmental defenders. Over the years, we have investigated the effects of entrepreneurship in territories, whether small or large, on indigenous peoples and those who are put on the front line in their defense. This makes us question to what point society will accept this development project that there is no interest in the good life of society, in the real quality of life, to what point we will be paying for electric energy and mining extraction with indigenous blood and with the diseases that reach women and children, as a genocidal talk of the Brazilian State.

These issues are intersectoral, involving the life cycle, consumption pattern, the processes of accumulation and production, distribution of income and commodities, the impacts of mining, the expansion of agribusiness, the use of toxic substances to feed the global capitalist pattern that does not respect the processes of free, prior and informed consent and consequently causes health inequities in indigenous peoples and thus we continue to face climate change due to the consumption pattern that does not represent us.

We will no longer accept an attempt to violate human rights, the rights of indigenous peoples. We do not accept any more hydroelectric plants, we do not accept mining in our indigenous territories which is a violent practice, which is sold under the words of progress and development. We have done research that shows how the environment is degraded by development actions, we know that mining contaminates rivers, underground water, the soil and we know that the contamination of the land is the contamination of the territory, that is, the contamination of our bodies.

We, the indigenous youth, recognize our role in the defense of life, of ancestral territories and of future generations.



Text: Rayanne Cristine Máximo França (Baré people, Amazon, Brazil and collaborator of the Brazilian Indigenous Youth Network - REJUIND)

The text is part of a reflection of his master's thesis of the Post-Graduate Program in Development, Society and International Cooperation of the University of Brasilia and his thesis is entitled "Environmental Injustice and the Main Health Effects of Indigenous Peoples in Brazil", her thesis is in the process of being completed.

Translation to English: Eileen Mairena C

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