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What Canadians’ solidarity means to the defenders of the Amazon

As part of its For our Common Home campaign, Development and Peace — Caritas Canada held a webinar called “From Canada, with love, to the defenders of the Amazon” on Sunday, October 4, 2020.

We made a big announcement during the webinar: that we have achieved our goal of collecting 65,000 signatures on the Solidarity Letter to two Brazilian Amazonian communities, the seringueiros of Machadinho d’Oeste and Mura people of Manaus. Our goal was to get one signature for every species of tree and vertebrate in the Amazon forest, and we succeeded! A big thank you and congratulations to everyone who made this possible.

We heard some incredible testimonies from the Mura, the seringueiros and the partner organizations who work with them, about the how they are protecting the Amazon forest from mining, dams, industrial agriculture, cattle farming and fires, while they also attempt to protect themselves from the COVID-19 pandemic. They expressed their appreciation for the solidarity that Canadians from across the country have shown.

Among those who thanked Canadians for their solidarity was the Mura chief, Fabio Andreaza Tato, who lives in the region of the Amazonas State where the Potassio do Brazil company intends to build a massive mine. We have just learnt that, like over 5 million of his compatriots, Chief Tato has contracted COVID-19. Underlying risk factors have made his condition precarious. Please join us in praying for him, his family, and his community.

We felt inspired by the webinar, and we hope you did too, if you were able to join. If you missed the webinar and would like to watch it or share it with family or friends, it is on our YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/NOw3nD4p188.

Click through the Flickr album below to see photos of the campaign in action in communities across Canada, and all of the signed letters and children’s drawings that were made in solidarity with the defenders of the Amazon:

2019-2020 Amazon Solidarity Lettres/Lettres de solidarité Amazonie

Now, Development and Peace will send advocacy letters to the Canadian government, the Brazilian government and the Canadian mining company that intends to mine potassium on Mura territory. We will tell them that 65,000 Canadians want to ensure that the rights of Indigenous and traditional communities are respected, so that they can continue to live sustainably and protect the Amazon forest. We will keep you updated on these important advocacy actions and the results.

Here are a couple more ways you can continue to show your solidarity with communities in the Amazon who are defending the forest for all of us:

  • Follow the Amazoniza-te (Amazonize Yourself) awareness and care campaign for the Amazon, led by the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference.
  • Demand that Canada stop negotiating a free trade agreement with Brazil until the Brazilian government starts protecting the Amazon basin and respecting the territorial rights of Indigenous peoples. Make this demand by calling or emailing your MP. If it is safe to do so in your region, you can also have 25 people sign our paper petition and mail it to your MP.

We will continue to advocate on behalf of human rights defenders in the Amazon as we lead our newly launched campaign, Recovering Together.

Your generous donations to Development and Peace allow us support partners in the Global South and to lead action campaigns like this one. Please support this work by making a donation.

Thank you to everyone for standing in solidarity with the defenders of the Amazon!

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