Ashaninka Indigenous Community In The Amazon Wins A 24-Year Long Lawsuit Against Illegal Loggers

The Ashaninka indigenous community came up against timber companies that were illegally stripping the Amazon rain forest. It took over two decades, but the community was successful in winning the lawsuit, which was involved in logging in the 1980s. Brazil’s Cameli family owns a number of timber companies and they were ordered to pay a $3 million settlement to the Ashaninka tribe. That money will be used to protect the tribe and the Amazon.

According to a report from Mongabay, the Cameli family illegally cut down thousands of trees between 1981 and 1987 on the Kampa do Rio Amônia Indigenous Reserve. The family had deforested about 25% of the reserve land during that time. The land is located in Acre, Brazil. They had milled the wood to sell to the European furniture industry.

Cameli will be a familiar name to many of you, and for good reason. Gladson Cameli is the governor of Acre, Brazil and in the 1990s, his uncle, Orleir Cameli held the same position.

The lawsuit was first started by the Ashaninka tribe in 1996. It took a while before it worked its way through the judicial system in Brazil and in 2011, it was in the Federal Supreme Court. At that time, however, the case stalled.

Brazil’s Attorney General’s Office brought the case to a close on April 1 of this year. Representatives of the National Indian Foundation, the Advocacy General of the Union, the estate of Orleir Messias Cameli, the Marmud Cameli company, and the Ashaninka Association of Rio Amônia were there for the hearing. They did follow COVID-19 standards and remained 6 feet apart while signing the settlement agreement, according to an attorney general’s office press release.

According to the terms of the settlement, the Cameli family has to pay $14 million Brazilian real, which is approximately $2.4 million USD to the Ashaninka community. Another $6 million Brazilian real (about $1 million USD) was to be paid to the human rights defense fund. A formal apology is also to be issued from the Cameli family to the Ashaninka family, reports the Latin Post.

Deforestation in the Amazon is a major issue that has worldwide impacts. It is also one of the reasons why the Amazon was burning last year.

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The fires in the Amazon aren’t just devastating for the local communities and the wildlife who inhabit the world’s largest rainforest — they’re also catastrophic for the entire planet. The Amazon has earned the nickname of “the lungs of the world” because of its essential role in not only providing 20 percent of all the world’s oxygen, but also absorbing carbon dioxide from our atmosphere. So as a record number of fires continue to burn in the Amazon — this year, there have been more than 72,000 fires, an increase of 83 percent from January to August of last year — we’re being forced to ask: What would the world look like without the Amazon?⁠⠀⁣ ⁠⠀⁣ In addition to the loss of oxygen, the Amazon plays a crucial role in regulating the planet’s temperature — therefore slowing climate change — by absorbing carbon dioxide and lowering levels of greenhouse gases; if the rainforest were to disappear due to fire, drought, and deforestation, it would become a source for carbon dioxide instead of being a sink for it. ⁠⠀⁣ ⁠⠀⁣ The Amazon Basin makes up 20 percent of the world’s fresh water supply, which is used by the people both to drink and live, and also as hydropower. The water in the Amazon also affects global weather, and if it were to dry up, the rainfall patterns all over the world would have significant effects on agriculture and life all over the planet. ⁠⠀⁣ ⁠⠀⁣ The loss of the Amazon would also mean millions of people losing their home, along with more than 3 million species of plants and animals — many of which have yet to be cataloged. ⁠⠀⁣ ⁠⠀⁣ You can help by donating to organizations like @RainforestAlliance and @AmazonWatch; reducing your consumption of meat, dairy, wood, paper, and palm oil; and making sure you’re making purchases that are rainforest-safe. ⁠Click the link in bio to learn more about what the world would look like without the Amazon, and to learn other ways to take action. ⠀⁣ ⁠⠀⁣ #livegreen #learngreen #prayforamazonia #savetheamazon #amazonrainforest #greenmatters⁠⠀

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The WWF explains that over the past five decades, humans have clear-cut 17% of the rain forest to develop it. 80% of the deforestation is for cattle ranching and 20% is for timber and other products.

At times, developers will set fire to the Amazon Rainforest to clear the land quickly for development.

“[Developers] cut the trees, leave the wood to dry and later put fire to it, so that the ashes can fertilize the soil,” Ane Alencar, scientific director of IPAM Amazonia, explained last year, as per Mongabay.

The indigenous tribes of the Amazon Rainforest are often affected by the rainforest fires, and Brazil’s government doesn’t do much to protect them. As Andrew Miller of Amazon Watch told Green Matters, President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration is “doing everything it can to not obey the existing laws in the short term, and to weaken them in the long term.”

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