Projects

Xingu Forever Movement

Defense of Xingu River peoples’ rights violated by the construction of the Belo Monte dams.

Pará

Objectives and target audience

The project aims to guarantee the defense of the Xingo River and the recognition of the fundamental rights of the Xingu River peoples vis-à-vis the Belo Monte hydroelectric complex by raising awareness among the urban and rural population, both indigenous and non-indigenous, about the risks and threats involved in Belo Monte’s construction and the plant’s impact on their rights. The project should also report to society and relevant government bodies the irregularities, illegalities and rights violations relating to the implementation of the hydroelectric plant and offer qualified assistance to the affected communities and defenders threatened by it.

Main activities

– Periodic visits to the communities to collect information and hold workshops on the impact of Belo Monte’s construction and fundamental rights with the use of informational, educational materials – booklets, folders, videos.

– Promoting the debate between specialists and representatives of human rights-defending organizations.

– Collecting, systematizing and sending on denunciations from threatened communities to national and international organizations that defend human rights.

– Publicizing facts via local and national campaigns with audiovisual and written communications, using social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

– Collectively offering assistance to threatened communities, mostly to accompany cases of compulsory removals and irregular indemnification.

– Supporting and holding public events to direct denunciations, with the presence of representatives from human rights-defending organizations, such as the Public Prosecutor and Public Defender.

Context

As part of the federal government’s Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), the construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric dam (AHE Belo Monte) in the Xingu River basin involves investments of about R$ 30 billion, the compulsory displacement of more than 45,000 inhabitants and the migration of more than 100,000 people to the region of Altamira (PA).  Launched in 2002, the current project plans for the construction of two dams (Pimental and Belo Monte), a diversion canal, two reservoirs and an extensive system of dykes.  By way of the Pimental dam and diversion canal, more than 80% of the Xingu River’s outflow would be diverted to feed the powerhouse at Belo Monte.  Thus the Belo Monte Complex would flood an area of 668 square kilometers (415 square miles) and cause a drastic, permanent reduction in the flow of 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the Xingu River in the region known as Volta Grande, which would debilitate life for the thousands of indigenous and riverfront peoples of the region and cause the disappearance of endemic and endangered species.

Despite the magnitude of the project and its resulting impact, the environmental assessment process, begun in 2008, has been marked by the lack of transparency and participation of civil society, associated with serious infringements of Brazilian law and disrespect for national and international norms on human rights and protection of the environment.  There are currently 61 lawsuits to postpone Belo Monte, awaiting judgment of their merits at various levels of Brazilian judiciary.  Despite all of the controversy surrounding the project, in June, 2011, construction began on the power plant, after Ibama (the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Natural Resources) granted a definitive construction license to the Belo Monte power plant, even in light of non-compliance with the conditions of the preliminary permit and partial construction license.

About the organization

The Xingu Forever Movement (MXVPS) is a collective formed in 2008 by local and international organizations, threatened indigenous and non-indigenous communities, and social, human rights and environmental movements who oppose the construction of hydroelectric dams on the Xingu River and act in defense of the rights of peoples threatened by the dams’ construction.

Partnerships

MXVPS is part of the Eastern Amazon Network (FAOR), the Brazilian Environmental Justice Network (RBJA), the Group in defense of Amazon rivers, Global Justice, Pan-Amazon Rivers Alliance and also receives support from international institutions.

Results

Arrangements were made for human rights professionals to visit the areas and communities affected and expropriated by the Belo Monte hydroelectric project in order to denounce violations; meetings with communities in the affected cities in order to clarify and inform about their rights and social mobilization; workshops with women from the municipal districts impacted by the Belo Monte hydroelectric complex; meeting with women from the countryside and cities, in partnership with Fundo Elas, to talk about violence with human rights leaders and the problematics surrounding the everyday effects of the Belo Monte project.

Funding Line

Annual Call for Proposals

Year

-

Total Granted

R$ 40,000

Duration

12 months

Main Themes

Social and environmental rights within mega-projects

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