Indigenous leader calls for EU action against firms over Brazil deforestation

(Reuters News, 11 Nov 2019) Brazil's president has vowed to open up protected lands to economic development, leading campaigners to warn of a looming crisis in the face of increased invasions by armed loggers.

The European Union should consider sanctions for companies that source materials from protected Brazilian forest reservations and native lands, an indigenous community representative said.

Sonia Guajajara, the head of APIB, which represents many of Brazil's 900,000 native people, called on Monday for EU lawmakers to exert pressure on Brazil's government to better protect the rights of indigenous communities and for scrutiny of companies profiting from deforestation in the Amazon.

"We are calling on the European community to support us so that each of them in their country can pressure companies, pressure parliamentarians, so they can adopts laws that guarantee the traceability of products and their production chain," she told Reuters in an interview.

"Also, it must enable them to sanction companies that buy and get their supplies from conflict zones," she added.

Brazilian indigenous leaders including Sonia are due to meet French lawmakers this week as part of a campaign through 12 European countries following clashes in the Amazon.

Illegal loggers shot dead a young member of the protected Guajajara tribe in Brazil this month, increasing worldwide concerns over the government's environmental record and its dealings with indigenous communities.

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Reuters News, 11 Nov 2019: Indigenous leader calls for EU action against firms over Brazil deforestation