Brazil: combating land grabbing will save the Amazon

7 May, 2021 | Press Releases

The growing increase in deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon has been worrying the entire international community, but what a good part of the world doesn’t know is that the main cause of this problem is the theft of public lands in the region. Despite this, experts are unanimous in concluding: Brazil already has instruments to resolve this bottleneck.

The term “land grabbing” refers to the private, irregular and criminal appropriation of public lands that are claimed through false documents. Conservation Units, Indigenous Lands and public non-destined lands in the Legal Amazon are public areas vulnerable to gang action. This phenomenon is closely linked with deforestation and, often, also with the killings of indigenous people and environmental activists who are tenaciously opposed to confiscations.

According to the Institute of Man and Environment of the Amazon (Imazon), in March 2021, 810 km² of deforestation were detected in the Legal Amazon, an increase of 216% in relation to March 2020, when deforestation totaled 256 km². Of the total deforested in the month, 22% was recorded in the Settlement area, 11% in Conservation Units, 1% in Indigenous Lands and 66% in private areas or under various stages of possession.

In Brazil, representatives of agribusiness, the private sector and non-governmental organizations for the defense of the environment joined in the campaign “Be Legal with the Amazon” (Seja Legal com Amazonia), of which No Peace Without Justice is a partner. The goal is to tackle land grabbing by raising awareness among the population and decision makers about land grabbing, in addition to asking for support for the necessary measures to combat such crime. Actors in the world’s largest rainforest protection ecosystem agree that tackling this illegal activity must be rigorous. This will result in the fight against violence, corruption and the economic backwardness observed in the region. Efforts, therefore, must be aimed at preventing the action of those who cause these irreversible damages: the land grabbers of public lands.

Since 2019 NPWJ has activated a campaign against deforestation in the Amazon, for the protection of the rights of indigenous peoples and against the impunity of ecocide and is at the forefront in the defense of the Amazon forest with the support of the Peretti Foundation, and local partners. One of the main objectives of the campaign is to raise awareness about the effects of climate crimes such as land grabbing, deforestation or water pollution. This should be a priority on the agenda of all those who recognize the importance of this forest for the ecological balance of the planet and for the preservation of native peoples, flora and fauna, heritage of humanity.

For more information on the “Be legal with the Amazon” campaign, visit the website