Published on 05 April 2011
By Xingu Alive
The Inter-American Commission on human rights (IACHR) of the Organization of American States (OAS) officially requested that the Brazilian Government to suspend immediately the process of licensing and construction of the B...elo Monte Hydroelectric Complex, in Pará, citing the potential loss of construction work on the rights of traditional communities of the Xingu River basin.
According to HRIC, the Government should comply with the obligation to carry out consultation processes "prior, free, informed, in good faith and culturally appropriate", with each of the affected indigenous communities before the construction of the plant. The Itamaraty received within 15 days to inform the OAS on compliance determination.
The decision of the IACHR is a response to the complaint forwarded in November 2010 in the name of several traditional communities Xingu basin by the Xingu alive forever (MXVPS), Coordination of indigenous organizations of Brazilian Amazon (Coiab), territorial Prelature of XinguIndigenous Missionary Council (Cimi), Para Society for the defence of human rights (SDDH), Global Justice and the Inter-American Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA). According to the complaint, the indigenous communities and riparian region were not properly consulted about the project which, if taken forward, will cause irreversible-environmental
"Recognizing the rights of indigenous peoples to the prior consultation and informed, the IACHR is determining that the Brazilian Government halt the process of construction of Belo Monte and guarantees the right to decide of the Indians," said Roberta Amanajás, lawyer of SDDH. "This way, the continuity of the work without the realization of indigenous oitivas if will be in breach of the determination of the IACHR and violation of international law and the Brazilian Government could be held internationally by the negative impacts caused by the enterprise".
The IACHR also determines to adopt vigorous measures that Brazil and comprehensive for protecting life and personal integrity of isolated indigenous peoples of the Xingu basin, as well as measures to prevent the spread of diseases and epidemics among traditional communities affected by the work.
"The decision of the IACHR makes clear that the Brazilian Government's dictatorial decisions and of Justice, in search of a development at any cost, constitute an affront to the laws of the country and human rights for traditional local populations," said Antonia Melo, Coordinator of MXVPS. "Our leaders can no longer use economic development as an excuse to ignore human rights and push down their throats projects of destruction and death of our natural resources, peoples of the Xingu and Amazon, as is the case of the Belo Monte hydroelectric".
"The decision of the OAS is a warning to the Government and called for the whole Brazilian society widely discuss this model of authoritarian and highly predatory development being implemented in Brazil," said Andressa Caldas, Director of Global Justice. Andressa recalls examples of violations of rights caused by other great works of the CAP, the growth acceleration program of Government. "There are many cases of forced removals of families that have never been compensated, in that there are serious environmental impacts, social disintegration of communities, increased violence around construction sites and abysmal working conditions".
Criticism of the project does not come just from organised civil society and local communities, but also scientists, researchers, government institutions and international personalities. The Federal Prosecutor in Pará, alone, is taking action in 10 lawsuits against the project, which have not yet been adjudicated definitively.
"I'm very moved by this news," said Sheyla Juruna, Juruna indigenous leadership of the community of Altamira, 17 km. "Today, more than ever, I'm sure we're right in denouncing the Government and the Brazilian justice violations against the rights of indigenous peoples of the Xingu and all who are together in this fight in defense of life and the environment. We are firm and strong in this fight against deploying Complex Belo Monte ".
The decision of the IACHR determining the immediate stoppage of the licensing process and construction of Belo Monte is supported in the American Convention on human rights, the Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Declaration on indigenous rightsthe Convention on biodiversity (CBD) and the Brazilian Federal Constitution itself (article 231).