OAS may recommend the suspension of Belo Monte

Movimento Xingu Vivo Para Sempre
Thursday, November 11, 2010

Entities sent today (11) a document that alleges violations of international treaties in the project and threats to indigenous and riverine communities of the Xingu River; OAS will demand explanations and may request the State to stop the licensing process

The Organization of American States (OAS) today (Thursday, November 11) a document denouncing the irregularities in the bidding process and the impacts on indigenous and riverine communities that are affected by the construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam, in Pará.  Signed by the Xingu Forever Alive Movement, by other organizations, and representatives of communities - the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI), the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), the Prelature of Xingu, the Pará Society for Human Rights (SDDH), Global Justice, and the Inter-American Association for Environmental Defense (AIDA) - and prepared with the participation of over twenty organizations and social movement supporters, the petition calls for the granting of emergency interim measures for the suspension of the licensing process of the project.

In the complaint, authorities say Brazil is violating international treaties by ignoring the fundamental rights of communities Arroz Cru, Arara da Volta Grande, Km 17 Juruna and Ramal das Penas, all on the edge of the Xingu River. Forced displacement - without prior consultation and consent of the communities - and threats to food security, environment and access to drinking water are some of the major problems highlighted in the project document. The organizations point out that in 2009 the OAS granted precautionary measures leading to the suspension of construction of the hydroelectric plant Chan 75 in Panama due to the forced displacement of indigenous communities. Other cases in Latin America are also cited.

Based on reports from government agencies - such as IBAMA and federal prosecutors - and on technical reports from experts, the authorities also claim that the construction of Belo Monte would cause the increase of disease and poverty, and cause the emergence of disordered migratory flows that will overwhelm health systems, education and public security in the region. "Despite the gravity and irreversibility of the impacts of the project to local communities, there were no appropriate measures to ensure protection of rights and the environment," concludes the text of the document.

*How does the process work in the OAS?

The Federal Government says the construction of Belo Monte is to be launched soon, and that, despite recent recommendations of the MPF (here and here), the installation license can be granted by IBAMA in the coming weeks. Because it is an urgent request for interim relief - put into effect when there is imminent risk of violation of human rights - the OAS, through the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), requires immediate clarification from the Brazilian state and then issues its decision. If the request for interim relief is approved, it is the Federal Government that should fulfill the requirements determined by the IACHR in its resolution.

For more information:

Roberta Amanajás, Pará Society for Human Rights - (91) 81621232
Gustavo Mehl, Global Justice - (21) 8162-2181 / 2544-2320 / 8212-1095

Renata Pinheiro, Xingu Forever Alive Movement- (93) 9172-9776