Munduruku’s long journey: from the Amazon to Europe to seek justice

As a representative of her own people and the rights they are often deprived of, indigenous activist Maria Leusa Kaba Munduruku decided to travel abroad and speak directly to the companies responsible for the destruction of her land, heading to Europe. A year ago the woman literally saw her village attached from the invaders and his house was engulfed in flames. Miners have taken up places in the Amazon where tribes like Maria Leusa have always lived, not only harming the area and the environment but also violating the rights of entire populations. not They work for the protection of indigenous peoples, but they do find every excuse to exterminate entire ethnic groups, so the woman decided to call for European intervention.

Maria Leusa, who literally had to leave with the children because she was threatened by the miners, intends to ensure that Europe works to create a valid legislation. An intervention that can go beyond European companies and can reach protect the Amazon when needed. Because otherwise, those who have power in the lands until now are notorious contrite and constantly threatened from other aggressive interventions, not only not will act to protect people and the environment, but will continue to prevent any possible act aimed at justifying the rights of the peoples and the land in which they live and respect.

The Brazilian government still intends to legitimize the controversial law (PL191). mining indigenous peoples, despite the fact that Brazil has reached double of the previous record for the number of hectares of Amazon rainforest lost in the midst of intensive logging, agriculture and mining. Indeed, despite protests, mobilizations and appeals to the International Court of Justice, injustices and invasions have risen sharply since the beginning of 2022. And then, in addition to the hostility of the Brazilian government, Europe is also so determined to a turning point green, has received strong criticism. As Maria Leousa points out, for every uncontrolled intervention of European companies, there is the blood of innocent people and the pain of the Earth. NGOs have made it clear how Europe has a essential role in the Amazon disaster, European companies and banks have indeed funded and bought products due and consequence deforestation. So in February it was decided by Brussels to create a special law to ban the import of raw materials related to deforestation and forest degradation, such as wood and soy.

But as much as the proposal for new lines of corporate sustainability seemed like a historic and life-saving action, “Only 1 percent more companies in Europe will be targeted by the proposed rules,” the activists said. Ongoing environmental damage should be banned once and for all and instead even new legislation does not seem to really make a decision you change the fate of the Amazon, of the peoples, of the Planet.

The proposal is now under discussion in the European Parliament and the Munduruku leader came naturally to ensure that Europe I confess his shortcomings and can realize the importance of his role. But definitely for activists like Maria Leusa there is a need to make armor, as the meetings do not go as we hoped. Last Thursday, the woman traveled to Bern, Switzerland with other indigenous representatives, meeting with the directors of the Metalor, Précinox and Argor Heraeus gold refineries and the Swiss Association of Manufacturers and Traders of Precious Metals (ASFCMP). Companies very active in Europe and therefore subject to the proposed rules. With five tonnes of gold arriving from the Amazon to Switzerland, the country was the second largest importer of Brazilian gold in 2021, just behind Canada. It was the German Society for Threatened Persons (STP) to highlight the extent and origin of the exports, which also came from the land where the Munduruku, people of Maria Leuasa, live.

While the company made it clear that every business was well controlled, ensuring that the supply chain was free of human rights violations, activists continue to believe that the gold that arrived in Switzerland is “stained”. Aware of the lack of evidence, the activists confronted the leaders of the big companies after telling their dramatic story and showing their efforts to be accountable, feeling that they were being deceived and looking at them. indifference. Maria Leusa Kaba Munduruku herself, who told her story in a lengthy interview with Politico, summed up last Thursday’s meeting. The woman used very harsh words to summarize how she felt trying to confront governments, executives and anyone at the top: “What seems to matter to the people we met is gold and not the lives of indigenous groups. To be honest, I could not even stare at them. “.

[di Francesca Naima]

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