| Jul 3, 2023
Belo Monte: Advocacy & Action for Rights
Amazon Watch-Maira Irigaray
The operations of the Belo Monte Dam in Brazil, the third-largest in the world, has resulted in the displacement of over 20,000 people from the Xingu Indigenous Territory, threatening their livelihoods. And, a new threat has been added by the potential opening of a gold mine by Belo Sun Mining Corporation in Volta Grande, a section of the Xingu River. AIDA's legal team addressed the Brazilian State's non-compliance with the precautionary measures granted in 2011 by submitting a detailed report to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in February 2022.
To monitor the process of the Precautionary Measures, the IACHR held a meeting on April 11, 2023, where AIDA members and representatives of the Brazilian State participated, aiming to establish concrete measures to be fulfilled by the State this year. These measures emphasized the consideration of ecological and social factors in any decision related to the environmental licensing process of Belo Monte.
The IACHR has emphasized that this represents an important moment in the case. The Brazilian State must present, along with its written response, a work schedule to be followed by the representatives of the victims and by the Inter-American body. This meeting marks the beginning of a new phase in the case, characterized by a more open political context for discussing and complying with the precautionary measures for Belo Monte. The IACHR has expressed its willingness to move forward with the case and provide closer follow-up, including the scheduling of future meetings.
During this period, as AIDA awaits the State's written response, we have been engaging in meetings with external partners and allies to discuss next steps. AIDA is also organizing a trip to the Volta Grande region of the Xingu to meet with victims, collect crucial data, and gather evidence. Simultaneously, we are actively involved in addressing the activities of the Belo Sun mining company in our role as part of an alliance called the Alliance for the Grand Volta do Xingu, consisting of various civil society organizations. We collaborate on legal actions and national and international advocacy to safeguard environmental and human rights in the region. In July 2023, the group will have a hybrid -in person and virtual- meeting to strategize actions, addressing issues on the defense of human rights defenders who face threats for opposing the mining and hydroelectric projects, and holding companies accountable for human rights violations.