US Reps. introduce resolution to protect the Amazon and defend the Rule of Law in Brazil
WASHINGTON— Today, Reps. Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Ro Khanna (D-CA), and Deb Haaland (D-NM) introduced a resolution expressing profound concern about threats to human rights, the rule of law, democracy, and the environment in Brazil. They were joined by 12 original cosponsors.
“As members of Congress, we have a duty to condemn the tragedy that has befallen our Brazilian brothers and sisters under the destructive and racist policies of the Bolsonaro government,” said Rep. Grijalva, Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee. “Bolsonaro’s failed leadership has brought Brazil to a crisis point. He’s curtailed the rights of indigenous communities, openly threatened their right to exist, and is presiding over the unprecedented destruction of the Amazon. This is not the type of regime the United States should support, and I’m proud to stand up for environmental justice, indigenous communities, and the Brazilian people with this resolution.”
The resolution cites the destruction of the Amazon and the global threat it poses to rapidly accelerating climate change and calls for the U.S. government to oppose World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank loans to projects likely to contribute to more deforestation. It also condemns Bolsonaro’s praise of Brazil’s former dictatorship, denounces Bolsonaro’s racism and his attacks on human rights, raises the threats faced by land and environment defenders in Brazil, and slams Bolsonaro’s support for extrajudicial killings by police, the lack of progress to bring the perpetrators of councilwoman Marielle Franco’s assassination to justice, and the troubling circumstances surrounding the conviction and jailing of former President Lula da Silva.
“We won’t get a second chance at saving our planet,” said Rep. Khanna. “We cannot stand by as one of the world’s greatest ecological treasures is burned, chopped, and ruined for good. Bolsanaro must also stop his blatant attack on human rights, the rule of law, and democracy in Brazil.”
“Future generations deserve to live on an Earth that can sustain them, but Trump and Bolsonaro would rather get rich now at the expense of our children and grandchildren,” said Rep. Haaland, Vice Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee. “We condemn moves to make a quick buck off of the Amazon Rainforest by abusing the human rights of indigenous peoples, Afro-Brazilians, and local communities and ravaging the environment and wildlife.”
The resolution directs the Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General to “perform a full review” of DOJ activities in Brazil to determine whether any DOJ employees supported any “unethical conduct” by the Lava Jato task force or other Brazilian judicial agents. In addition, it calls for the US to suspend all assistance to Brazil’s military and police forces unless the US State Department certifies that Brazil is taking effective measures to curtail extrajudicial killings by these forces, and to investigate and prosecute killings of activists.
The resolution is endorsed by the Center for Economic Policy and Research (CEPR), Amazon Watch, WOLA, and the AFL-CIO.