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International Community Should Push for Results in Curbing Deforestation, Protecting Rights

As fires rage in the Brazilian Amazon, environment minister Joaquim Leite announced that the government has doubled the budget for environmental law enforcement and will recruit 700 new enforcement agents.  Leite presented these measures as…
Fires near Novo Progresso, Brazil on August 23, 2020, burned land deforested by cattle farmers.
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Proposal a Major Setback to Land Rights Recognition

(São Paulo, August 24, 2021) – Brazil’s Congress should reject a bill that would prevent or hinder many Indigenous peoples from claiming their right to traditional lands, violating their rights under international law, Human Rights Watch said…
Indigenous people protest against a bill on the demarcation of indigenous land, on the roof of the National Congress, on June 8 2021, in Brasilia, Brazil. Photo: Mateus Bonomi/AGIF (via AP)
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Efforts to save the world’s forests could soon get a boost from proposed laws in the European Union, the United Kingdom and the United States to restrict the import of agricultural commodities linked to deforestation. These three markets’ consumption…
Cláudio José da Silva at the bank of the Pindaré river, in the Brazilian Amazon.
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Inclusive Climate Action and Planning Needed after 12 Perish

On July 15, twelve people with disabilities living in a group home drowned in floods in Sinzig, Germany, because they did not manage to evacuate in time. This is not the first time people with disabilities in group homes died during a climate…
The “Lebenshilfe-Haus” or ‘assisted-living facility”, where twelve people with disabilities drowned in floods on July 15, 2021.
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International Funding Largely Depends on Reducing Deforestation, Protecting Rights

(São Paulo) – The governors of Brazilian Amazon states should take immediate measures to deliver on their pledges to curb illegal deforestation, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The success of the governors’ efforts to secure…
Governors and vice-governors of Brazil’s Amazon states at the 17th Forum of Governors of the Legal Amazon, March 2019
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Dear Governors,                     We are writing to applaud the commitment the Governors, through the Interstate Legal Amazon Consortium, have made to fight illegal deforestation in the Amazon and to…
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Pregnancy Risks Left Out of Climate Change Planning

We have corrected the online version of this report to include an additional state government response on heat health action plans received by Human Rights Watch after the requested deadline but prior to publication. Germany has delayed…
A woman shields herself from the sun with an umbrella on a hot summer day in Cologne, Germany, July 25, 2019. 
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Civil Society Participation Key to Success at UN Climate Talks

At this month’s virtual climate negotiations several United Nations officials and governments highlighted the importance of civil society participation in climate action. Yet at the summit’s plenary session, time ran out before civil society…
Residents and environmental activists on Lamu island, Kenya, protest the proposed Lamu Port-South Sudan-Ethiopia (LAPSSET) project on March 1, 2012.  © 2012 Reuters/Joseph Okanga
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To the UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights to Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and of Association

Human Rights Watch welcomes the opportunity to provide input on the challenges and risks facing climate defenders for the upcoming report by the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. While recognizing that…
Activists from mining communities protesting at the Pietermaritzburg High Court on August 24, 2018, KwaZulu-Natal © 2018 Rob Symons
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Government Ordered to Protect Future Generations

In a landmark decision issued today, Germany’s top court found lawmakers have a human rights obligation to protect people from the effects of climate change. The court ruled that a German 2019 climate change law does not adequately regulate greenhouse…
Illustration of a windmill with leaves for blades
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Brazil Should Deliver Results in Reducing Deforestation and Impunity for Environmental Crime and Violence

Speaking at the Leaders Summit on Climate convened by the United States today, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro insisted he’s committed to protecting the Amazon and even pledged more resources for environmental law enforcement. But since taking office…
Congressmen Jair Bolsonaro e Eduardo Bolsonaro speak with the press, Brasília, June 21, 2016.
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Bolsonaro Policies Fuel Deforestation in Indigenous Lands

(São Paulo, April 12, 2021) – Brazilian federal authorities should immediately remove miners who have unlawfully entered the Munduruku Indigenous territory in the Amazon rainforest, Human Rights Watch said today. Munduruku Indigenous people in the…
A mining site in the Munduruku Indigenous Land registered by Brazil's environmental agency IBAMA, May 2018.
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Briefing Paper for US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry

I. Deforestation Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has increased dramatically since President Bolsonaro took office in 2019. The increase was more than 30 percent during the first year of his administration and an additional 9.5 percent during the…
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Proposed Measure Falls Short of International Norms

(Berlin) – The German government’s proposed law governing companies’ obligations to respect human rights in supply chains is a step in the right direction but needs improving in key areas, Human Rights Watch said today. Parliament should explicitly…
"Peter," 15, working alongside a teenage girl at an artisanal and small-scale mine in Odahu, Amansie West district, Ghana.
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Human Rights Watch Letter Detailed Disastrous Policies Fueling Brazil’s Amazon Crisis

On January 27, Human Rights Watch sent a letter to members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) detailing the disastrous impacts of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s environmental policies. The intervention has now…
Presidente Jair Messias Bolsonaro