AMERICA/BRAZIL - Amazon: An Atlas displays conflicts and tensions in 338 municipalities

Tuesday, 3 October 2017 environment   indigenous   local churches  

Brasilia (Agenzia Fides) - There are 338 municipalities in the Amazon that live in situations of conflict due to land. In the State of Acre, half of the municipalities, 11, are involved. The State experienced a tough fight against deforestation and the appropriation of lands by illegal occupiers and speculators, especially in the 1970s. In the State of Amapá, which enjoys a privileged geographical position, favorable climate and land for the cultivation of wheat, all 16 municipalities are affected by situations of conflict. In general, in 2014, the number of land conflicts in Brazil amounted to 43.3% of the total. These data show the need for a vast land reform, which would be the fastest and most radical way to eliminate hunger, poverty and inequalities in the country.
The situation was displayed, mainly through maps, by the newly published Atlas of Conflict in the Amazon, which examined the conflicts in the nine states that make up the Amazon: Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Tocantins, Pará, Rondônia , Roraima and parts of the state of Mato Grosso and Maranhao. The initiative was born from the collaboration between the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), the Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network (Repam), organizations linked to the Bishops' Conference of Brazil (CNBB). The study records the scenario of clashes that aggravate the agricultural issue, identifies the challenges for the daily lives of the local population, and the CPT's commitment to human rights violations, among others crime and looting in the region.
During the presentation of the Atlas, at the headquarters of the Missionary Cultural Center in Brasilia, the Secretary General of the CNBB, Archbishop Leonardo Steiner, said that the Atlas awakens in all "deep truths about the Amazon" and helps build a new mentality towards the Amazon, especially in terms of help. He therefore drew attention to the fact that the Atlas was launched at a "very important moment for Brazil", in particular for the revocation of the decree that aimed at opening the National Copper and Associate Reserve (Renca) in the Amazon forest (see Fides 29 and 31/8/2017).
Darlene Braga, representative of the CPT in the Amazon, pointed out that the Atlas will give national and international visibility to what is happening in the Amazon, while Cleber César Buzzatto of the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) has called on state authorities to take urgent measures to protect these territories, "otherwise there will be the genocide of these peoples". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 3/10/2017)