Dutch MPs write to President of Brazilian Senate about dangerous Bill 490

June 13, 2023

On May 30, 2023, Brazil’s lower house of Congress approved a bill (Bill 490) that could be a death sentence for the Amazon and the Indigenous communities who protect it.

In the letter, the spokespersons on foreign affairs of ChristenUnie (Christian Union), GroenLinks (GreenLeft), Partij voor de Dieren (Party for the Animals), PvdA (Labor Party), and Volt Netherlands express their deep concerns about this legislation, which will soon be up for a vote in the Brazilian Senate.

What is wrong with Bill 490?

Amongst others, Bill 490 annuls Indigenous claims to huge areas of land whose potentially protected status is currently still under review. Without this protection, these territories can be opened up for logging and mining. Such activities are extremely damaging to the environment and particularly problematic since many of these areas are located in the Amazon rainforest. The rainforest is crucial for keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Other components of the legislation open up the possibility of stripping already existing Indigenous reserves of their protected status.

Guaranteeing the protection of Indigenous peoples and the environment

In the letter, the MPs ask President Rodrigo Pacheco to “guarantee the protection of the environment and the Indigenous population of Brazil.” Their call follows previous letters from the European Parliament and from the German Bundestag. Hivos also put out a statement to this effect, which you can read here.

“International pressure on the Brazilian Senate is crucial because it needs to be clear to the Brazilian senators that although Brazil supports the world with crops, this same world will not accept crops derived from the destruction of Indigenous Peoples’ territories.”

Paula Moreira, activist and Hivos Project Manager in Brazil.

Highly valued support

Hivos will continue its campaign against Bill 490 and would also like to thank these MPs for their and their parties’ support:

Ernst Boutkan, Volt
Laurens Dassen, Volt
Stieneke van der Graaf, ChristenUnie
Tom van der Lee, GroenLinks
Joris Thijssen, PvdA
Christine Teunissen, Partij voor de Dieren