The Surui REDD project is under attack. Despite the fact that the Surui’s forest is an Indian Reservation (and a REDD project), hundreds of miners and loggers are invading the land, leaving destruction in their wake.
The scale of the destruction can be seen on Global Forest Watch, based on Global Land Analysis and Discovery (GLAD) alerts from January 2015 to October 2016 (hat tip Rachel Petersen, Impacts Manager at Global Forest Watch):
Global Forest Watch also clearly shows what has happened to the forest outside the Surui’s territory.
To whom it may concern,
I am Almir Narayamoga Surui, Chief of the Paiter Surui indigenous people. Our population lives on the ‘Sete de Setembro indigenous territory’ in the state of Rondônia, Brazil.
This is my cry of alarm, please listen to me!
Since the beginning of this year 2016, we are undergoing a total invasion of deforesters and miners of diamonds and gold. Every day, 300 trucks leave our territory filled with wood, which represents 600 hectares of deforested forests. And it continues to increase, whilst according to the Constitution of Brazil, it is illegal to deforest an indigenous reservation.
On the ground, the illegal loggers have heavy means, with Caterpillar machines. We have found mercury and cyanide in three rivers of Surui territory because of the miners!
The implications are terrible. In addition to environmental damage (and the challenge to our way of life), these invasions directly endanger our families and our children. Indeed, we are under the threat of weapons of loggers and miners! Either one collaborates, or they put a gun to our heads!
In addition, they try to bribe some of my people with money. For lack of alternatives, some of my people accept, against their first resolve to protect the forest. The situation is terrible!
We, the Surui indigenous people are the first to have set up a REDD+ project to save the Amazon forest, lungs of our planet. But these invasions undermine the Agreement of REDD and go against the spirit of the agreement of the COP21!
Despite our appeals for help against this mafia, the new government did not react. By their silence, they are silent accomplices of this destruction of the forest and our people!
We do not know what to do, Help!
As citizens, NGOs or institutions, you can help us in four ways:
1. We ask you to write to the Brazilian embassies in your own countries to express your outrage and ask the new Brazilian government to intervene quickly.
2. We also ask you to boycott all Brazilian products, as the Brazilian government does not react.
3. We ask the different political bodies to establish an international observer mission on deforestation.
4. Finally, on behalf of the Surui people and of all indigenous people who are trying to protect the Amazon rainforest, in the name of our struggle to preserve a future for all children of this planet at the price of our lives, in the name hope for the future, we ask you to distribute this letter to all your contacts in the world and on social networks, because today we are all connected in a common destiny.
Almir Narayamoga Surui, Leader of the Paiter Surui Indigenous People.