Brazil (Agenzia Fides) - The Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (Repam) rejects the extinction of the National Reserve of Copper and Associates (Renca), decided by the government, considering it "a blasphemy of Brazilian democracy, because in order to attract new investment in the country, the Brazilian government has consulted only companies interested in exploiting the region". In a note signed by the President of Repam and of the Commission for Amazonia of the National Conference of Bishops, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, and by the President of Repam-Brazil and Secretary of the Commission for Amazonia of the National Conference of Bishops, His Exc. Mgr. Erwin Kräutler, dated 28 August, notes that before this measure "no consultation with indigenous peoples and traditional communities took place, as required by Article 231 of the 1988 and of the Federal Constitution and Convention 169 of the 'International Labor Organization (ILO)'.
Repam's document, sent to Fides, recalls that Renca is a reserve area in the Amazon, of 46,450 sq. Km, and includes nine protected areas, three with full protection. "The opening of the mining area for copper, gold, diamonds, iron and niobium will, among other things, increase deforestation, irreparable loss of biodiversity and negative impacts on people throughout the region".
Contrary to what the government says, Repam continues, the opening of the mining region "will not guarantee the protection of the forest, the protected areas, and even less of the indigenous lands, which will be directly affected by violence. It is enough to see the destruction that Brazilian and foreign mines have left in the Amazon in the past decades: deforestation, pollution, water resources compromised by the high consumption of water for mining and by chemical contamination, increased violence, drugs and prostitution, increased land conflicts, uncontrolled aggression against cultures and lifestyles of indigenous and traditional communities, with large tax exemptions but minimum benefits for the people of the region".
The document denounces "incalculable environmental and social risks" that threaten the lungs of the planet, and after citing what Pope Francis writes in the encyclical Laudato sì, it reiterates that "the extinction of Renca represents a political threat to Brazil". Repam joins the dioceses of Macapá and Santarém, environmentalists and those sectors of the society who ask for the suspension of the Decree that extinguishes the Reserve, and invites parliamentarians to defend the Amazon. The text concludes with an appeal: "We do not resign ourselves to human and environmental degradation! We join efforts in favor of the lives of people living in the Amazon. The future of the next generation is in our hands!" (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 29/8/2017)