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Indigenous demonstrators launch new occupation of the Belo Monte Dam

Criado em 28/05/13 10h36 e atualizado em 28/05/13 13h10
Por Alex Rodrigues Edição:Talita Cavalcante/ Lícia Marques Fonte:Agência Brasil

Brasília – The site of the Belo Monte Dam on the Xingu river in the state of Pará, northern Brazil, was taken by a hundred indigenous people early on Monday (May 27). The demonstrators are trying to stop the construction of “Sítio”, one of three major worksites of the project, 55 km away from the town of Altamira.

According to the construction consortium press agent, the works were suspended for security reasons. No violence has been reported against workers or property so far. Essential services have been maintained. The other two worksites are operating normally.

The National Security Force is watching closely. Norte Energia, the utility that will operate the dam, is still planning its legal course of action. Agência Brasil hasn't been able to contact demonstration leaders.

The native people claim that they were not consulted prior to launching the project. They said they will only leave the place if they can meet with a federal government representative.

The sit-in follows another similar incident that happened in the beginning of the month, in which they also demanded the suspension of all hydroelectric projects in the Amazon, until arrangements are made for a prior consultation of the native people as per Convention no. 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO). The convention was ratified by Brazil in 2002 and enacted by the federal government in 2004. Under its provisions, all indigenous peoples and those peoples entirely or partly governed by their own customs and traditions or special laws must be consulted on legislative and administrative issues that affect them.

In January 2012, the federal government set up a cross-ministry workgroup to review and submit a proposal to regulate prior consultation and participation mechanisms. It is led by the Ministry of Foreign Relations and the General Secretariat of the Presidency, and involves various government agencies and entities.

On April 25, representatives from the federal government and the Jacareacanga, Pará local government met with Munduruku people to discuss arrangements for the prior consultation of indigenous peoples living in the Tapajós basin.

Edition: Talita Cavalcante/ Lícia Marques
Translators: Mayra Borges/Olga Bardawil

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