| Sep 5, 2014
"It's just getting worse" ... Help AIDA assure justice for affected communities - Doubled thru 9/10!
Aerial of Belo Monte construction in the Amazon
AIDA's attorneys Maria Jose Veramendi and Alexandre Sampaio recently traveled to communities along the banks of the Xingu River, site of construction of the Belo Monte dam. They gathered testimony, photos and data to report to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights.
Not surprisingly, what they witnessed mirrors the sobering data recently reported in the New York Times that dams are hugely detrimental to the environment, and don't deliver on intended economic benefits.
Maria Jose provide a quick recap of their trip:
What was your goal?
MJ: We were documenting the situation of the communities affected by the construction of the dam to inform the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the current situation. This regular site monitoring is critical as the IACHR relies on organizations such as AIDA to keep them apprised of the status of cases.
What new developments have taken place since you last visited?
MJ: The situation is getting worse. The construction is now 65% complete so the impacts are becoming more and more visible. For those groups working on behalf of the affected communities, it is becoming increasingly tense and dangerous. [Brazilian] security forces are notable everywhere. For the residents of Altamira, basic services are overloaded. Also, sexual violence is on the rise because of the influx of construction workers.
Are the local people being compensated for the dam's impact on their lives and communities?
MJ: Some people have agreed to leave their homes but Norte Energia (the company building the dam) bought them for a very nominal fee. Others do not want to leave but are being forced to. The homes being built for relocation are not adequate for the needs of the people, and there has been flooding in these areas. Also, moving means they must change their way of life, from fishing and farming to working in any type of job that allows them to survive. They receive no other support for their relocation.
What will AIDA be doing in response to what you observed/information gathered?
MJ: We will provide a comprehensive update to the Inter-American Commission, which details the impact and suffering of the people and communities. It is another critical step in advancing this case, and to assuring that human rights violations are recognized and mitigated.
Thank you for your support of AIDA's work, to provide legal representation for the people affected by Belo Monte. Your donation makes a difference!
Now thru September 10th, Global Giving is providing a 100% match for all new recurring donations! $10/month becomes $240 for the year!
We appreciate your contribution!