Briefing Notes

100 Days of Bolsonaro - Ending the EU’s role in the assault on the Amazon

10 April 2019

100 Days of Bolsonaro - Ending the EU’s role in the assault on the Amazon

A new reality has unfolded in Brazil in the 100 days since Jair Bolsonaro became leader of the world’s fourth largest democracy.

Incursions by armed invaders on Indigenous Peoples’ lands have surged.

An assault on the country’s environmental protections is underway.

And the country’s extraordinarily powerful agribusiness lobby now has even more political clout.

In January 2019, deforestation in the Amazon reportedly rose by 54 per cent compared to the same period in 2018. The same month, Bolsonaro’s  temporary measure to put indigenous lands under the jurisdiction of the agriculture ministry paved the way for powerful cattle ranching and soy interests to accelerate their sweep through the world’s largest tropical forest, as well as Brazil’s other ecologically precious biomes. Their destruction has significant global ramifications, including acceleration of climate change...

The EU bears some measure of responsibility for this.

On the 100th day of its presidency, 20+ organisations, including Fern, are publishing “100 Days of Bolsonaro - Ending the EU’s role in the assault on the Amazon”, a new briefing which details how the EU and Brazil are deeply economically entwined.

The briefing calls on the EU to use its trade, investment and diplomatic leverages to ensure it is not complicit in Bolsonaro’s threatening policies for forests and Indigenous Peoples.

It makes the following recommendations:

  • The EU needs new laws to guarantee that neither products sold in the EU, nor the financial markets underpinning them, are destroying the planet’s forests and driving land grabs and other human rights abuses.
  • The Mercosur/EU negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement must be suspended until Brazil publicly renews its commitment to the Paris Climate Agreement. In addition, the trade deal’s Sustainability Impact Assessment must be publicly released and its findings taken into account before negotiations continue. Finally, the deal must include binding, enforceable provisions to end deforestation, respect customary tenure rights, and implement the Paris Climate Agreement.
  • The European Commission should specify how it plans to respond to the challenges presented by the Bolsonaro administration, including ensuring human rights are respected. The European External Action Service (EEAS) should strengthen the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy and include more proactive consultation with Brazilian civil society organisations. The EU should also monitor and respond to human rights violations and strengthen human rights defenders' protection mechanisms. For those most at risk, including Indigenous Peoples and environmental defenders, the EU should provide direct, urgent support where required, including through political representations.

Categories: EU Action Plan to Protect Forests and Respect Rights, Free Trade Agreements

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