Bolsonaro Allows Illegal Deforestation, Says Human Rights Watch

For Humans Rights Watch, attacks on environmental enforcement agencies put Amazon and activists at risk

São Paulo

Human Rights Watch has released an annual report describing some of Brazil's worst environmental atrocities. In 2019, three Indians were murdered, deforestation in the Amazon hit a record high and grew 29.5% in one year and 72,501 km² of the biome were set on fire.

This is some of the information that underpins Human Rights Watch's annual report. The NGO says the Jair Bolsonaro government weakens environmental protections by giving carte blanche to criminal networks involved in illegal deforestation.

Altamira. Foto: Lilo Clareto

The statement anticipates this Wednesday's interview (15) in São Paulo when NGO spokespeople will discuss the points raised by the chapter on Brazil in 2019.

The director of the NGO in Brazil, Maria Laura Canineu, said in a statement that the president's attacks on environmental agencies put at risk not only the Amazon but also activists.

In July, Bolsonaro criticized the then-president of INPE (National Institute for Space Research) Ricardo Galvao for satellite data indicating a 68% increase in deforestation in the Amazon compared to July 2018. At the time, the president said that data undermined Brazil's image abroad. The criticism culminated in Galvão's resignation.

In the following months, deforestation continued to grow, and there was an increase in fire outbreaks. "Fire Day" began the second major environmental crisis: the August fires. On August 10, Inpe recorded fire outbreaks in Pará.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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