It is time to #ProtectTheAmazon. On 9th December, Minga, the indigenous peoples’ alternative to COP25, and Extinction Rebellion’s Rebels Beyond Borders have blocked the road leading to the entrance to COP25. They have also installed a yellow boat, with people locked on to it, in an act of solidarity to demand climate justice now for the Amazonia’s Indigenous people, the forest guardians defending the world’s most biodiverse region.

Written on the side of the yellow boat, are the words REBELS BEYOND BORDER on one side, and on the other side CLIMATE JUSTICE NOW in the six official languages of the UN.

The action comes after two indigenous leaders from the Guajajara tribe were shot dead and two others wounded on Sunday 8 December 2019 in Brazil’s Maranhão state, in an attack near to where another prominent indigenous forest defender was murdered last month.

This attack on the forest guardians who protect their territory against illegal deforestation is part of a long term strategy by Bolsonaro’s government to undermine current legal protection and open up the lands to exploitation by agribusiness.

Christian Poirier of Amazon Watch said: “An institutionalised genocide of indigenous peoples is taking place in Brazil. They are being left alone, vulnerable to all kinds of threats and violence.”

Sandro Kayapó, Exec Coordinator of APIB (Brazil’s Indigenous People Articulation) speaking from Minga, the indigenous peoples’ alternative to COP 25, said: “It’s no longer time to be arguing, we have to effectively have a territorial protection strategy. We have our own mechanisms, we know how to defend our lands. We are just 5% of the population but we are the greatest protectors of Brazilian biodiversity.

Indigenous people have been on the frontline of resistance for hundreds of years facing  murder, cultural assimilation and genocide in defence of Mother Earth. At least 164 land and environmental activists were murdered in 2018, a significant number of whom were indigenous people.

Minga, the indigenous peoples’ alternative to COP25, and Extinction Rebellion’s Rebels Beyond Borders – a gathering of rebels from more than 20 countries – are calling on COP25 delegates to listen to Indigenous leaders and Act Now to ensure Climate Justice. They said: “We are asking delegates to condemn the actions of the Brazilian State, the Brazilian Agribusiness lobby (Bancada Ruralista) as well as other criminally inactive governments and extractivist corporations throughout the Amazon Basin for their complicity in ecocide and destruction of the Amazon Rainforest, for the murders of environmental defenders, and for the cultural assimilation and genocide of Amazonia’s Indigenous peoples.

“As a movement of movements, we call upon every human with a conscience to denounce those who would destroy the Amazon and to join with us to economically disrupt governments and companies that are responsible, and to demand an end to their ecocidal and genocidal activities.”

Minga, the indigenous peoples’ alternative to COP 25

Indigenous leaders of Ecuador, Peru and Brazil, along with partners fighting for climate justice have been participating in Minga, the indigenous peoples’ alternative to COP 25, which has been focusing on climate care and protection. The summit has involved learning, discussion and reflection, and builds upon a series of proposals delivered to the Conferences of the Parties (COP), the supreme decision making body of the UNFCC, the international response to climate change.

This action comes just days after the Association of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples (APIB) published an ad in the Financial Times‘ special COP supplement. The ad, made possible by an anonymous donor and participation of Amazon Watch and Rainforest Action Network, calls out the worst offenders that finance Amazon destruction – specifically naming BlackRock, Vanguard, JPMorgan Chase, Santander, BNP Paribas, and HSBC – and makes clear that, “the fate of the Amazon is the fate of the world.”