Through our campaign, For our Common Home: A future for the Amazon, a future for all, we have been raising awareness of the struggle of two communities in the Amazonian region of Brazil, whose territories are under threat. The Indigenous Mura people are calling for proper consultation with regards to a Canadian-financed mine that would extract potash from their land. The seringueiros are traditional rubber-tappers who are losing their land and livelihood to loggers cutting down the trees that are a life source for the community. The seringueiros are trying to resist but they are often subjected to violence and even death threats for simply asserting their rights and defending their land.
These two cases have touched the hearts of Canadians. Over 35,000 people have signed a Solidarity Letter addressed to both the Mura and the seringueiros that expresses concern over their plight and thanks them for defending the land and waters of the Amazon rainforest, which is an essential part of our common home and must be preserved if we are to avoid a climate catastrophe.
Upon receiving some of the first signed letters, Mura leader Jeremias Olivieira, was moved that Canadians know and care about the situation of his people and their homeland. “On behalf of the Mura, we are grateful and happy.… I'm going to pass on this message and say that people in Canada already know our story. But we need to spread it further, to make our identity known, so that you can join forces with us,” he said.
Members of Development and Peace have been spreading the word in their communities, diligently gathering signatures at events, marches, in parishes and schools. The objective is to reach 65,000 signatures to represent each species of tree and vertebrate in the Amazon. The signed letters will be delivered by a delegation of Development and Peace youth representatives who will travel to Brazil in July.
“This campaign harks back to our 1979 letter-writing campaign to the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, whose children disappeared under the military dictatorship in Argentina. The campaign, done in collaboration with the Catholic Women’s League, sent 170,000 cards and letters to the grandmothers, giving them the strength to carry on with their search for justice for their lost children. We hope to do the same for these two communities in Brazil in the defense of their land,” explains Kelly Di Domenico, Director of Communications and Campaigns at Development and Peace.
Please join us in showing our solidarity with the Mura and the seringueiros by signing our letter today!
Watch Jeremias’ full message to Canadians: