In: Home > News > Brazil: Stop the Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu River!

Languages: ENG | DEU | ESP | ITA

Brazil: Stop the Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu River!

Society for Threatened Peoples files complaint with Public Prosecutor's Office in Pará

Bolzano/Bozen, Göttingen, Bern, December 1, 2010

Xingu River, Yawalapiti, 2010. Photo © Rebecca Sommer. Xingu River, Yawalapiti, 2010. Photo © Rebecca Sommer.

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) is deeply concerned about the indigenous peoples living on reservations along the Xingu River in the Brazilian state of Pará, who are acutely endangered by the planned construction of the Belo Monte dam. Research by STP Representative to the UN Rebecca Sommer in Brazil has shown that the construction of the mega-dam is set to usher in massive industrialization in this Amazonian region. Thus the very existence of the indigenous peoples living near the Xingu is threatened, including that of one small, isolated community in particular that lives in close proximity to the mega-dam site. Furthermore, the reservoir created by the dam will flood an area of almost 200 square miles - about the size of Lake Constance - putting not only woodlands but also areas cultivated by the indigenous peoples under water. The STP, together with the Brazilian environmental protection organization KANINDE and 12 more non-governmental organizations, filed a collective action today with the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office (Ministério Publico Federal) at Pará, seeking to stop construction of the Belo Monte dam.

The indigenous peoples in the Xingu region are living in fear and uncertainty. They were not thoroughly informed of the effects that the Belo Monte project would have on their livelihood, nor were they asked for their approval of the construction project. Brazil, however, is obligated to protect the rights of indigenous peoples, both by the ratification of UN Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO) and by the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. Since the Brazilian constitution of 1988 granted a certain amount of protection to the indigenous people in the country, more than 20% of the Amazon rain forest has been designated as reservations. This promise of protection is now slated to be sacrificed to the greed for natural resources. This development is particularly threatening for the indigenous peoples still living in isolation, who have been sighted just 70 km from the planned dam site, as the area in which they live will be opened up for logging.

Moreover, the Belo Monte project is already awakening the avarice of mining companies. Geologists surmise that there are vast amounts of valuable minerals to be found in the area around the dam. According to the environmental impact report for the Belo Monte dam project, prepared by the state energy company Eletrobrás, firms have already applied for authorization to search for natural resources on more than 63% of the total area of the reservations. The indigenous peoples themselves have neither been informed nor have they consented to any future mining for raw materials in their settlement area.

STP-Switzerland, the branch coordinating this campaign for STP-International, has the complaint (in Portuguese and German) that was filed with the Federal Public Prosecutor's Office in the state of Pará, three maps showing the consequences of the industrial development as well as the applications from companies for permission to mine the natural resources (source: environmental impact report from Eletrobrás) and a list of the signatory organizations, all available at their website: www.gfbv.ch.

Auf der Webseite der GfbV-Schweiz - www.gfbv.ch - welche die Kampagne für die GfbV- International koordiniert, finden Sie die Beschwerde an die Bundesanwaltschaft des Bundesstaates Pará (in portugiesisch sowie deutsche Übersetzung), drei Karten, (Karte 1, Karte 2, Karte 3) welche die Folgen der industriellen Entwicklung sowie die Anträge von Firmen zum Abbau von Bodenschätzen in Indigenenreservaten zeigen (Quelle: Umweltverträglichkeitsbericht von Eletrobrás) und eine Liste der unterzeichnenden Organisationen.