UNI Global Union joined the call to end the destruction the Amazon and expressed its full solidarity with the people of Brazil, especially those affected by the devastating fires in the region. The UNI Americas Executive Committee approved a motion condemning the criminal deforestation of the Amazon.
Brazil has had more than 72,000 fire outbreaks this year, which is an 84 percent increase on the same period in 2018—a direct result of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s short-sighted and environmentally destructive policies. His extreme right-wing government has weakened environment regulations and attacked conservation NGOs while promoting unsustainable mining, farming and logging practices.
“The defence of the rainforest has to be the priority of all workers. In addition to the struggle for social rights and a life free of violence, a sustainable world is essential for our future generations,” the motion reads. “At this moment we must all unite in this humanitarian crisis, for the survival of the planet.”
These illegal fires have been largely started by predatory agribusiness and illegal land-grabbers. Some leaders in the in rural parts of the country allegedly organized fires along a highway across the rainforest to show support for the Brazilian president’s loosening of environmental restrictions. Nevertheless, Bolsonaro has dubiously claimed that NGOs were deliberately starting fires as part of a coordinated attempt to harm the image of his government.
“We cannot let the vested interests of a few wealthy individuals and businesses lead to the devastation of the planet purely to increase their own wealth,” said UNI General Secretary Christy Hoffman. “Bolsonaro’s government has systematically tried to dismantle unions and workers’ rights, and now, they are doing the same to the protections of the Amazon.”
The last month has seen an incredible explosion of the international opposition to Bolsonaro’s exploitation of the Amazon. Protesters around the world demonstrated outside Brazilian embassies as international outrage at the Brazilian government’s environmental vandalism grows.
Marcio Monzane, Regional Secretary of UNI Americas, said, “The international resistance to Bolsonaro’s ecological war on the Amazon is united and growing. Workers, environmental movements, NGOs, indigenous peoples and young people are standing together against the threat to our planet.”
The Brazilian government’s policies are actively worsening conditions for the environment, workers, and democracy. UNI has been supporting its Brazilian affiliates to ensure that economic growth cannot be at the expense of the environment and workers’ rights.