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The following statement was issued on 24 November 2005 in Vitoria, Espirito Santo, Brazil at an international meeting on building support for local communities against large-scale tree plantations and GMO trees. This meeting was co-sponsored by World Rainforest Movement, FASE-ES and Global Justice Ecology Project.

The city of Vitoria in Brazil, owes its name to the “victory” of the colonialist Portuguese against the original indigenous inhabitants of the land. Today, the same name has a totally different meaning. The indigenous Tupinikim and Guarani peoples have retaken the lands that were stolen from them by the giant pulp mill corporation Aracruz Cellulose. They have been joined in the struggle against the company and its plants by other local communities and organizations from civil society who, through uniting in the struggle, have weakened the company’s power. They have thus become a symbol of victory for peoples all over the world who are fighting against similar corporations.

Peoples throughout the world are also uniting at the local, national and international levels to put pressure on large scale tree plantations that have been depriving them of their livelihoods and destroying their lands.

These struggles have brought us together in Vitoria, in Espirito Santo, Brazil to strengthen the local peoples’ movements against corporations that are advancing large scale monoculture tree plantations.

With that aim:

  • We support the struggles of local peoples for land rights and access to land
  • We support the struggles of local peoples who are defending their right to water, biodiversity, soils, foods, medicines, fuel, etc that come from the land.
  • We support the struggles of local peoples for autonomy and self-determination.
  • We support the struggles of local peoples against pulpwood plantations and pulp mills.
  • We support the struggles of local peoples against oil palm plantations.
  • We support the struggles of local peoples against carbon sink plantations.
  • We support the struggles of local peoples against biomass plantations.
  • We support the struggles of local peoples against the certification of large scale tree plantations.

We support the struggles of local peoples against genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and opposition to the introduction of GMO trees which would greatly exacerbate the impacts on local communities from large-scale tree plantations. We therefore call for a global ban on the release of GMO trees into the environment.

Large scale tree plantations, whether GMO or not, are the end result of a set of global economic mechanisms put into play by a series of international actors that make it possible for corporations to take over peoples’ lands, water and biodiversity in order to increase profits. In addition to the pulp and paper corporations, the international entities working to disenfranchise local peoples in support of corporate profits and the neoliberal model include International Financial Institutions such as the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank and Asian Development Bank; organizations such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization; commercial banks; and forestry consulting firms, all of whom act with the support of national governments.

We therefore demand that national governments end this destructive development model and act to support the rights and livelihoods of local peoples, rather than repressing them.

We call on the people of the world to join the struggles of local peoples who are defending their rights, lands, water, and biodiversity.

Signed,

World Rainforest Movement 
Robin wood e.v., Germany 
The Corner House, United Kingdom
Global Justice Ecology Project, Usa 
Rivani Noor, Community Alliance for Pulp Paper Advocacy/CAPPA, Indonesia
Marijke Torfs, Usa
Kaisu Tuominen, Finland 
Red de Acción Ciudadana por los Derechos Ambientales, Temuko, Chile
Alfredo Seguel, Konapewman, Chile 
Alejandra Parra, Kolectivo por los Derechos Ambientales, Chile 
Lorena Ojeda, Koyam Newen,, Chile 
Angélica Hernandez, AGRA (Agenda Regional), Chile 
José Aylwin, Observatorio de Derechos de los Pueblos Indígenas, Chile 
Mauricio Peñailillo, Junta de Vecinos Botrolhue Sur, Chile 
Sandra Leijer, Unión Comunal de Juntas de vecinos de Temuko, Chile 
Rony Leiva, Txapelaiñ taiñ kimun, Chile 
Richard Caamaño, ODECU (Organización de defensa del consumidor y usuario), Chile 
Chris Lang, World Rainforest Movement, Germany 
Antonis Diamantidis, World Rainforest Movement, Greece
Ivonne Ramos, Acción Ecológica, Ecuador 
Isaac Rojas, COECOCeiba, Costa Rica 
Lucio Cuenca, Observatorio Latinoamericano de Conflictos Ambientales, Chile 
Witoon Permpongsacharoen, TERRA-PER (Project for Ecological Recovery), Thailand 
Jutta Kill, Sinks Watch
Wally Menne, Timberwatch Coalition, South Africa
Maria Selva Ortiz, REDES – Friends of the Earth, Uruguay 
María Isabel Cárcamo, RAPAL, Uruguay
Gupo Guayubira, Uruguay
FASE/ES – Federação de Órgãos Para Assistência Social e Educacional, Brazil
MST/ES – Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra – ES, Brazil
FASE Bahia – Federação de Órgãos Para Assistência Social e Educacional, Brazil
CDDH-Teixeira de Freitas/BA – Centro de Defesa dos Direitos Humanos – , Brazil
Comissão de Meio Ambiente da CUT RJ, Brazil
Associação do Geógrafos Brasileiros – Rio de Janeiro – RJ, Brazil
Associação do Geógrafos Brasileiros – Niteroi – RJ, Brazil
Bicuda Ecológica, Brazil
APEDEMA-RJ Assembléia Permanente das Entidades em Defesa do Meio Ambiente, Brazil
Verdejar Proteção Ambiental e Humanismo, Brazil
Thomas Rodriguez , United Kingdom 
Alexandre Menezes, United Kingdom 
Espaço Cultural da Paz – Teixeira de Freitas/BA, Brazil
Igreja Evangélica de Confissão Luterana – Sínodo do Espírito Santo a Belém, Brazil
AGB/ES – Associação dos Geógrafos Brasileiros – Seção ES, Brazil
CDDH-Serra – Centro de Defesa dos Direitos Humanos Serra, Brazil
Celeste Ciccarone- Antropóloga – DCSO/UFES, Brazil
CEPEDES – Centro de Estudos e Pesquisas para o Desenvolvimento do Extremo Sul/Ba, Brazil
Fórum Estadual de Mulheres/ES, Brazil
Movimento Nacional dos Direitos Humanos/Regional Leste, Brazil
MPA – Espírito Santo – Movimento dos Pequenos Agricultores, Brazil 
Waldo Motta – Poeta – Vitória/ES, Brazil
Antonio Locateli – Professor e mestre em Ciências da Educação – Pinheiros/ES, Brazil
Comissão Quilombola do Sapê do Norte, Brazil
Marcos Borba, Brazil
CPT / MG – Comissão Pastoral da Terra de Minas Gerais, Brazil
ECOSC – Equipe de Conservacionistas Santa Cruz, Brazil
Núcleo Amigos da Terra, Brazil
Rede Brasil sobre Instituições Financeiras Multilaterais, Brazil
Fernando Schubert – Estudante de Psicologia – UFES/ES, Brazil
DCE – Diretório Central dos Estudantes – UFES/ES, Brazil
Lígia Moysés Nascimento – Radialista/ES, Brazil
Pastoral Indigenista – Aracruz/ES, Brazil
Marta Aguilar, Uruguay 
Julio Sire, Uruguay 
Matthew McDaniel, The Akha Heritage Foundation
Soumitra Ghosh, National Forum Of Forest People and Forest Workers, India 
Mumbai – Porto Alegre Forest Initiative

 

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