Opposition lawmakers called on Brazil’s Congress to reject a proposal by President Jair Bolsonaro to open indigenous reservations to commercial mining, saying it will endanger 200 tribes protected over decades by indigenous rights. Brazil has the largest number of isolated and uncontacted indigenous groups, 114 of the 185 known to exist in South America, said expert Antenor Vaz, who warned of the risk of ethnocide.
Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest doubled in January compared with a year ago, reaching a five-year record for the month, according to the national space research agency Inpe. More than 280 sq km were cleared in January, an increase of 108%, and a record for the month since data started being collected in 2016. One square kilometre roughly equals 200 football pitches. Deforestation in the Amazon soared last year.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said on Twitter he will create an “Amazon Council” led by vice president, General Hamilton Mourao, to protect and ensure the “sustainable development” of the world’s largest rainforest. Under Bolsonaro, the number of fires in the Amazon reached a 10-year high last year, prompting world leaders to denounce his environmental record.