NZ advocacy groups call for protection of indigenous people living in Amazon

By Jessica Tyson

New Zealand advocacy groups are urging Brazilian authorities to manage the fires at the Amazon rainforest and protect the one million indigenous people living there.

According to the Associated Press, fires are burning through the Amazon at a rapid rate, with more than 41,000 fires in the region recorded this year.

Advocacy groups, including Extinction Rebellion Tāmaki Makaurau, have held protests and vigils this week calling for the banning of products from companies profiting from Amazon deforestation.

They also have messages of support for the indigenous.

One supporter at a vigil held by Extinction Rebellion in Auckland this week said, “We're here standing in solidarity with you, for the indigenous people of the world who have been murdered, who have disappeared, who have been exploited for hundreds of years in Brazil.

“We are standing with you in solidarity. You are the rightful kaitiaki, you are the rightful guardians, you are the rightful keepers of the forest and it is with you that the future lies.”

According to Extinction Rebellion, the murder of indigenous activists protecting the Amazon has doubled. 

“Scientists warn if we lose 20 per cent more of the Amazon, it could trigger dieback turning it into a savannah, releasing 140 million tonnes of carbon,” the group said in a statement.

Advocacy group Organise Aotearoa joined a rally outside the Brazilian Embassy in Wellington on Friday to protest the “devastation” of the Amazon rainforest caused by ongoing fires.