Indigenous Amazonians fighting for lives say battle for rainforest involves whole world

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By Christopher Pitchers  & Gregoire Lory
Indigenous Amazonians fighting for lives say battle for rainforest involves whole world
Copyright  Euronews

The destruction of the Amazon rainforest is a fight that involves the whole international community, according to its indigenous people.

Speaking exclusively to Euronews, Dinamam Tuxá, who is the Coordinator for the Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) stressed that the battle doesn't just concern the lands native inhabitants, but also the entire world, given that without the Amazon, climate change will essentially be unstoppable.

"The international community, including the European one, plays a fundamental role in the protection of indigenous people and their territories because we are fighting to stop climate change and global warming. Our contribution is benefiting not only those who live in these territories, but also the whole of humanity," he added.

Some European countries, including France, Ireland and Austria have even threatened to block any trade deal between the EU and the MERCOSUR bloc, which consists of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay, unless they do more to tackle destruction of the Amazon.

And a large part of this is directed at Brazil and it's populist president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has overseen an overwhelming increase in how much of the unique tropical rainforest is destroyed.

But behind the destruction, fires and mass deforestation, lies a more sinister story.

The Amazon's indigenous people are being targeted and killed, driven out of their homes for the creation of new farmland.

"I have been threatened. I am under threat. I have cousins and friends who have been threatened. We live in constant panic and fear because we know that we cannot get protection from the State. I have had friends who were murdered for fighting this battle. But we cannot rest, we cannot let our guard down, we must always be aware," Tuxá told Euronews.

However, no one knows exactly who's carrying out these attacks.

And some of the threats are less obvious too.

Michèle Rivasi, a French Green MEP, explained to Euronews about the tactics used against the Amazon's indigenous community.

"The populations which live close to the farmlands are having pesticides used against them as a weapon. They sweep all the villages around with their planes to slowly make them die, so they get sick and leave. That is to say, pesticides are not only used for crops, but also as a weapon to force-out the indigenous people."

MEPs have called for legislation to prevent the importation of products resulting from deforestation, but this might not be enough to prevent the Amazon's long-term destruction.