Soy Industrialists accused of threatening OAS commission in Santarém

The delegation was attacked at the Açaizal indigenous community, in the region of the Santareno Plateau - 09/11/2018

  Members of the OAS commission during their visit to the  Açaizal indigenous community  Santarém. Picture: CIDH

Members of the OAS commission during their visit to the Açaizal indigenous community Santarém. Picture: CIDH

The direction of the film Beyond Fordlândia strongly rejects the truculence of soy producers engaged against the delegation of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights during a meeting with indigenous leaders in Açaizal territory. The attempts at intimidation, violent words and actions cannot be permitted, especially given the delicate moment for public environmental policy in Brazil. Traditional populations and lands are not the cause of problems and should be respected. Complete report below:

A delegation from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) present in Santarém, West Pará, on Novemeber 8th, has confirmed that they were followed to an Açaizal indigenous community, in the Plateau region, by two trucks carrying known soy industrialists.

On arriving in the community, the industrialists insisted on participating in the meeting, which had been arranged with only the indigenous leaders.

According to a report by the organization of the Brazilian Committee of Defenders of Human Rights (Comitê Brasileiro de Defensoras e Defensores de Direitos Humanos), the industrialists came with a violent, racist discourse.

Moreover, they attempted to identify the number plates of vehicles bringing the participants to the meeting at Açaizal, which the delegation interpreted as an attitude of intimidation.

After police intervention, the soy industrialists left.

The IACHR, which is linked to the OAS (Organization of American States), is tasked with the promotion and protection of human rights on the American continent.

Public Note - We will not be silenced! (*)

The 34 organizations from the city and countryside composing the Brazilian Committee of Defenders of Human Rights (CBDDH), hereby manifest their concern and make public their accusation of threats and intimidation suffered by the Delegation of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Brazilian authorities, indigenous leaders, defenders of human rights and representatives of civil society organizations, on November 8th, in Santarém (PA).

Even with Police protection the Delegation was followed to the Açaizal indigenous land, located on the Santareno Plateau, by two trucks transporting known soy industrialists from the region.

Upon arriving in the indigenous territory, the occupants of the trucks insisted on participating in the meeting, which had been arranged with only the indigenous leaders.

They delivered racist and violent tirades against those present and also attempted to identify the number plates of the cars, vehicles and vans that had brought the participants in the meeting to the indigenous territory, in a clear display of intimidation. Only after being challenged by the police did they leave.

The Committee's organizations strongly reject these attitudes, as well as the violence against the Indians on the land below the Tapajós river and around the country. There has been an increase in violence against these populations in recent years and just last November 6th, there were two victims, with the assassination of indigenous leader Reinaldo Silva Pataxó, killed by gun shots in the Catarina Caramuru Paraguassú village in Pau Brasil (BA), and the gun attack against Avá-Guarani Indian, Donecildo Agueiro, of the Tekoha Tatury territory in Guaraí (PR).

We also demand that the Brazilian State guarantee security for the agenda foreseen for the officil visit of IACHR to Brazil, which finishes on November 12th, so that it occurs without further incident.

We believe that it is extremely important that, at this time of growing violence against defenders of human rights, international organizations can fulfil their function of investigating the numerous violations of human rights that occur in the country.

We will not be silenced!"

With information from O Globo and text from the blog

(*) The public note was translated by the Beyond Fordlândia team.