Sending Office: Honorable Debra A. Haaland
Defend Afro-Brazilian and Indigenous Rights in Brazil!
Deadline: COB Monday, April 22
Please join us in signing this letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, expressing deep concern for attacks on the rights of indigenous peoples and Afro-Brazilian Quilombola communities (settlements founded and organized by escaped slaves and their descendants)
in Brazil. Though these communities have faced discrimination and violations of their collective rights for decades, the prospects under recently inaugurated President Jair Bolsonaro are simply alarming and require action.
In 1998, Bolsonaro said “Competent, yes, was the American cavalry that decimated its Indians in the past and nowadays does not have this problem in their country.” In 2017, he remarked
“[Quilombolas] do nothing! They are not even good for procreation,” and said,
“Not one centimeter will be demarcated for indigenous reserves or quilombolas.”
Unfortunately, the threats to indigenous and Quilombola communities go beyond these despicable words.
Bolsonaro has already begun taking steps to strip rights and authorities from indigenous peoples and the institutions that serve them, and Brazil’s indigenous and Afro-Brazilian movements are sounding the alarm. Wapichana leader Mário Nicacio
stated at a congressional briefing in March that the systematic violation of indigenous peoples’ rights is happening in Brazil, including an increase of threats against & assassinations of indigenous leaders. He said, “We’re asking the U.S. Congress to pay
attention to what’s happening in Brazil because a cultural and physical genocide could happen against indigenous peoples under President Bolsonaro.”
Quilombola leaders similarly spoke out before the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights in February. Sandra Andrade, the Executive Coordinator for the National Coordination of Quilombas Communities (CONAQ), stated, “Violence has increased 350% in 2016
and 2017, and CONAQ expects this rate to increase even more with the weakening of policies targeting Quilombola communities.”
Two columns were published in the Washington Post and New York Times last month when President Bolsonaro met with President Trump here in Washington, DC. Both pieces draw the crucial connection between the collective rights of local communities,
environmental protection, and climate action: “Protecting
indigenous lands protects the environment. Trump and Bolsonaro threaten both” and “Brazil’s
New President Threatens ‘the Lungs of the Planet’.”
Now is the time to express urgent concern, sending a clear message to the Trump and Bolsonaro administrations that violations against indigenous peoples and Quilombola communities won’t be tolerated, nor will violations against broader sectors
of Brazilian civil society that are under threat. By expressing our concerns, Congress will also send an important message of solidarity to those embattled sectors.
We appreciate your consideration and hope you will join us. If you have any questions or would like to sign this letter, please reach out to Chelsea.Grey@mail.house.gov in Congressman Johnson’s office, or Ashley.Baker2@mail.house.gov
in Congresswoman Haaland’s office by COB Monday, April 22.
DEB HAALAND HENRY C. “HANK” JOHNSON, JR.
Member of Congress Member of Congress