13 August 2020 - NPWJ News Digest on Environmental Justice & Human Rights


DemocracyWatch: Governments roll back environmental protections
Open Democracy, 12 Aug 2020

Around the world, governments are using the economic collapse that’s come with the pandemic as an excuse to rip up environmental protections and crack down on concerned citizens. Meanwhile, a new study has found that diseases carried by wild animals and deadly to humans – like the novel coronavirus – thrive when nature is destroyed. Likewise, the pandemic has intensified attacks on workers’ rights around the world.

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European banks urged to stop funding oil trade in Amazon
The Guardian, 12 Aug 2020

Indigenous people living at the headwaters of the Amazon have called on European banks to stop financing oil development in the region, as it poses a threat to them and damages a fragile ecosystem, after a new report found $10bn in previously undisclosed funding for oil in the region. The headwaters of the Amazon in Ecuador and Peru are home to more than 500,000 indigenous people, including some who choose to live in voluntary isolation. The area, covering about 30m hectares (74m acres), hosts a diverse rainforest ecosystem, but it is threatened by the expansion of oil drilling.

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Chasing Covid-19 in the Amazon rainforest
Doctors Without Borders, 12 Aug 2020

With more than three million confirmed cases of COVID-19, Brazil now has the second-highest number of cases worldwide, trailing only the US. The country’s massive size and lack of transportation across huge swathes of territory have complicated the response to the pandemic, prompting Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontiéres (MSF) to launch an intervention in Brazil’s Amazonas state.

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Amazon gold mining drives malaria surges among Indigenous peoples
National Geographic , 12 Aug 2020

 The mosquitoes come in swarms not long after the forest burns. As they scorch one patch of trees after another, the miners carve deep pits into the cleared land to extract gold. Many of these excavations encroach on protected land near the clearings, destroying even more of the forest cover the people who live there depend on. The cavernous craters fill with water, which becomes even more stagnant once the mines are abandoned. It is there that mosquito-borne illnesses, like malaria, begin to spread more easily.

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Amazonian Indigenous Peoples and COVID-19: ‘We’re not still waiting for help as we know it’ll never arrive’
Amnesty International, 09 Aug 2020

The Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon and across the Americas have centuries of experience facing deadly threats.For over 500 years we have faced invasions, the loss of our ancestral lands, ethnic and socioeconomic discrimination that has led to displacement, illnesses, death, and the constant threat of cultural and physical extermination. For decades, large companies and governments have offered us what they call "economic development" in exchange for the extraction of irreplaceable natural resources. In reality, those uncontrolled practices have enslaved us and contaminated our lands, in a habitat that is of vital importance not only for the Peoples who live together there but for the whole planet.

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