Judge Calls License in Controversial Amazon Dam Project Illegal

Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Brazilian federal judge votes for indigenous rights; argues Belo Monte Dam violates Constitution and international conventions Brasilia, Brazil―In a landmark decision on Monday, a federal judge in Brazil voted that the environmental licensing of the controversial Belo Monte Dam is illegal given the lack of consultations with affected indigenous communities. The vote is the first step in a long-awaited decision by a federal circuit court regarding a lawsuit filed in 2006 by the Federal Public Prosecutors’ Office that could ultimately bring the case before Brazil’s Supreme Court. In agre

Landmark Vote Upholds Indigenous Rights on Belo Monte

The Xikrin Kayapó recently told Public Prosecutor Felicio Pontes about the government's lack of prior consultations
On Monday, federal judge Selene Maria de Almeida voted in a landmark opinion in Brazilian courts that the Belo Monte Dam licenses are illegal and must be cancelled due to what is now widely-accepted evidence that the Brazilian government did not hold proper consultations with indigenous tribes that would be affected by the project. De Almeida argued that while the dam reservoirs do not flood indigenous territories, the project's diversion of the Xingu River will directly impact the tribes' abilities to reproduce physically, culturally, and economically, as 80% of the Xingu River would be chann

Tribes Decry Dilma's Plans to Build Dams in Indigenous Territory

The Macuxi Tribe are fighting against the proposed Cotingo Dam in Raposa Serra do Sol territory
In 2005, after years of fighting, the Macuxi indigenous people finally won title from the Lula administration to their own indigenous territory, called Raposa Serra do Sol. Then followed a heated legal battle to remove non-indigenous people from the lands, including ranchers and rice growers who had illegally invaded the area in the 1970s. The Brazilian Supreme Court decided to enforce the removal of the non-indigenous people from the territory in 2009. Now over 50,000 indigenous people in the area are fighting a new threat: a Dilma administration proposal to build hydroelectric dams inside of

UNESCO World Heritage Committee: "Halt All Construction on the GIBE III Dam"

Thursday, July 21, 2011
In its 2011 annual meeting, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee urged Ethiopia to "immediately halt all construction on the Gibe III dam" based on the potential impacts it may have on lake levels at the Lake Turkana World Heritage site in Kenya. The IUCN and the World Heritage Centre will send a monitoring mission to the property at the end of 2011 to evaluate the situation. Lake Turkana National Parks (Kenya)The World Heritage Committee Decision 35 COM 7B.3 Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B.Add, Expresses its utmost concern about the proposed construction of the GIBE III dam on the Om

Global Protests Against Burmese Military Actions at Dams

Kachins protest at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco
Kachins protest at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco Kachins in California Last Friday, hundreds of people in the US, Denmark, United Kingdom, Malaysia, and elsewhere gathered to protest the recent deadly clashes between Burmese authorities and ethnic militias in Burma's northern Kachin State. Standing before Burmese and Chinese embassies, Kachins held up signs calling for an end to the violence and a halt to dam building by Chinese companies in Kachin State. Fighting broke out in early June between the Burma Army and the Kachin Independence Organization (KIO) at the Dapein No. 1

Recognizing Dams as a World Heritage Threat

The Omo River Valley and Lake Turkana downstream, both home to World Heritage Sites, will be impacted by Gibe III Dam
The Omo River Valley and Lake Turkana downstream, both home to World Heritage Sites, will be impacted by Gibe III Dam Andrzej Zarzecki The UNESCO World Heritage Committee just concluded its 35th session in Paris, and for the activists and experts who worked long and hard to protect many dam-threatened World Heritage Sites, the results were a mixed bag. In early June of this year, 18 organizations and individuals sent a letter to World Heritage Committee members urging them to list a number of threatened sites on the List of World Heritage In Danger. Here are some of the recent decisions: Th

NGO Letter to the World Heritage Centre and Committee Members

Friday, June 10, 2011
Mr. Kishore Rao Director World Heritage Centre 7, place de fontenoy 75352 Paris France Subject: Dams an Increasing Threat to World Heritage Sites in Asia, Africa and Latin America Dear Mr. Kishore Rao, We appreciate the work that the UNESCO World Heritage Committee continues to do to protect the world's cultural and natural heritage for future generations. We, the undersigned, represent civil society organizations that work to protect the world's most endangered rivers and the communities and ecosystems that depend on them. We are writing to express our grave concern regarding the increasing n

Illegal Construction of CDM Project Barro Blanco Continues

Save the Tabasara River
Save the Tabasara River ASAMCHI Along with CDM Watch, we recently reported about the heavily contested Barro Blanco CDM project in Panama. A month on, protests continue, as outlined in the eye-witness report below. The Barro Blanco project is a 28.84 MW hydroelectric power plant in the district of Tolé, in the province of Chiriquí, Panama. There has been serious concerns regarding the additionality of the project, the lack of adequate public consultation and human rights abuses involving the company GENISA against the Ngobe indigenous peoples. Concerns were officially submitted by nu

Movement Against Barro Blanco Dam in Panama Heats Up

Back in February, I wrote about how the controversial Barro Blanco project in Panama had applied for carbon credits with the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism. Since then, the indigenous movement against the project, led by the M10 (the April 10 Movement for the Defense of the Tabasara River, which gathers all the affected communities along the banks of the Tabasara River) has really heated up. For 15 days, they have shut down part of the Pan-American Highway and camped outside of the dam site, effectively stopping construction. To read more about the protest, go to page 4 of

Indigenous Leaders Call Attention to Destructive Amazon Dams During European Tour

Almir Narayamoga Surui and Sheyla Yakarepi at protest outside BNDES office in London
Almir Narayamoga Surui and Sheyla Yakarepi at protest outside BNDES office in London Over the past two weeks, I had the privilege of joining indigenous leaders from Brazil and Peru on a tour of four cities in Europe, aimed at raising public awareness and stepping up international support for their campaigns against socially and environmentally destructive dams in the Amazon. The indigenous delegation, also accompanied by colleagues from Amazon Watch and Rainforest Foundation-UK, had a busy and varied agenda in each of the cities we visited, including public seminars, street demonstrations,


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