COVID an excuse to strip tropical forests - Indigenous groups | Daily News

COVID an excuse to strip tropical forests - Indigenous groups

In Colombia, deforestation of the Amazon has accelerated by 80 percent during COVID lockdown.
In Colombia, deforestation of the Amazon has accelerated by 80 percent during COVID lockdown.

FRANCE: Governments worldwide are using the COVID-19 pandemic to push through destructive development projects and roll back protections of indigenous groups, according to a global report on deforestation and rule of law released Thursday.

An assessment by the Forest People's Programme of post-pandemic stimulus plans in Brazil, Colombia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Indonesia and Peru found that projects such as mines, industrial agriculture plantations and dams were fuelling a rise in rights abuses.

Those five countries contain the majority of the world's tropical forests.

"During the pandemic, governments have not only failed to stop land grabs and human rights violations by corporate actors, but have rewritten and reversed hard-won policies that are vital at protecting human rights," said Myrna Cunningham, president of the FILAC indigenous rights group.

Numerous studies have shown the vital role indigenous groups play in averting climate change and biodiversity loss.

They are crucial guardians of some of the most carbon-rich and biodiverse lands on Earth, yet the report outlined how they have come under increasing threat as governments seek to power their economic recovery.

In Brazil, where deforestation of the Amazon last year reached the highest level in over a decade, the government had instigated a "campaign to roll back protections of indigenous people's rights," according to Sofea Dil, a researcher at Yale Law School who worked on the report. - AFP