Letter to UN rapporteur on indigenous rights about Belo Monte hydrelectric



James Anaya


Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights and of the fundamental freedoms of the indigenous peoples


OHCHR-UNOG Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights


Palais Wilson 1211


Geneva 10, Switzerland



Dear Mr Anaya,


The Coordenação das Organizações Indígenas da Amazônia Brasileira (COIAB) and the Instituto Socioambiental, in the name of the indigenous peoples of Arara da Volta Grande, Paquiçamba, Trincheira Bacajá, KM17 Juruna, Kararaô, indigenous lands Apyterewa e Kayapó and the Xavante indigenous peoples located in the Xingu hydrographic basins that would be affected by the construction of the mega-project Belo Monte Dam and related constructions respectfully present the following information for your urgent consideration.


The indigenous peoples who would be directly affected by the construction of the Belo Monte dam have not been consulted by the National Congress, the FUNAI, nor the IBAMA.



Lack of response from the State to petitions of the indigenous peoples for consultation


In spite of a number of formal solicitations, including a hand delivered request to president Luis Inácio da Silva, the indigenous peoples who would be directly affected by the damming of Belo Monte have not had access to clear and complete information about the impacts that they would suffer, nor about mitigating measures, and they were not consulted during the legislative and administrative processes that led to authorization of the project.


Lack of consultation on the legislative decision


In 2005 the Congress authorized the proposed construction of Belo Monte, without any information regarding the environmental and social impacts that there would be, nor any consultation with indigenous populations. This violation of the right to consultation (article 6, Convention 169 of the ILO, ratified by Brail in 2004) was taken to Federal Court and arrived at the Supreme Court, which decided that the environmental impact studies could take place prior to beginning consultation. This decision alone asserts direct violation to consultation, the consultation would be, in this way, taking place after a legislative decision about a matter that is going to affect, at least, seven indigenous peoples directly.


Lack of consultation as to an administrative decision of IBAMA and of the role of FUNAI


As to the decision of the Federal Government, the authorization of the construction of the damming by the Brazilian Institute of the Environment (Ibama) is about to be granted under political pressure by private economic interests and, again, without consultation with the indigenous peoples affected. The dam of Belo Monte is reported to cost R$17 to R$30 billion, even without taking into consideration the additional environmental and social costs, including those related to the guarantee of the living conditions for those indigenous peoples costs related to the eventual dislocation of the indigenous peoples from their demarcated traditional lands.


The study conducted by the National Foundation of Indigenous Affairs (Funai) identified a series of grave impacts that threaten the indigenous lands, demarcated as well as being demarcated in the region of Altamira and several other indigenous lands that are absent from the IBAMA evaluation of the environmental impact study(EIS). It concluded, nonetheless, that the project is viable, and considered the consultation as done. The decision released in an official letter from the president of the FUNAI, IBAMA, dated October 14 of 2009, is an attempt to close the possibilities for the indigenous peoples affected to participate by means of consultation in the administrative decision of the IBAMA, which authorizes the dam of Belo Monte.

Fonte: COIAB
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