Even as the reservoirs of the Belo Monte dam are beginning to fill deep in the Brazilian Amazon, the controversial project is continuing to meet with international scrutiny.
We’re particularly proud to report that the day we’ve long awaited has arrived – the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has finally opened our case on Belo Monte!
Four years after we filed the original petition, the Commission has determined there to be sufficient grounds to open the case, and push the Brazilian government to respond to the many allegations of human rights violations caused by the massive hydroelectric project.
We hope and believe that now is the time for Brazil to respond comprehensively to our claims about:
- the absence of consultation and free, prior and informed consent of affected indigenous communities;
- the lack of participation and adequate assessment of environmental impact; and
- the forced displacement and violations of the rights to life, health, integrity and justice of indigenous peoples, riverine communities, and residents of the city of Altamira.
Based on Brazil’s response, the Commission will then determine if requirements have been met to have the case admitted and, if so, to establish whether or not the project caused the alleged human rights violations.
Above all, the opening of the case is a victory for the affected indigenous and riverine communities we represent, and the local social movements, who have endured for so many years in the face of adversity. Despite the continuing construction of the dam, they have shown nothing but strength and determination in their search for justice and reparation.
In December, the communities met with members of the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights in Altamira, who will compile their findings from the visit into a report to be presented in June to the UN Human Rights Council. Immediately after their visit, the Working Group issued a statement that, among other things, urged the Brazilian government to respect human rights, not sacrifice them in the name of economic development.
Under such pointed international pressure, we believe the time has finally come for Brazil to answer for the severe harm Belo Monte has caused to lives of those who live in its shadow.
Thank you for continuing to support our long fight for justice for the people of the Xingú River basin. Our work and your support continue to be so important to the lives and livelihoods of these communities.