Human rights and resource conflicts in the Amazon
The Amazon comprises the largest tract of tropical rainforest in the world. Numerous indigenous peoples have traditionally inhabited this region, and 25 percent of its total land area is formally recognised as indigenous territories. Such territories are an effective means of protecting the forest. Deforestation and problems related to illegal logging have a lower incidence in indigenous territories than other areas, including protected areas.
This report investigates an alarming increase in human rights violations in the Amazon region. Human rights defenders, environmental activists and indigenous peoples are facing attacks and are being put under systematic pressure; and rights to land and to consultation are regularly encroached.
Norway is an important actor in the Amazon region, and has for several decades been a key supporter of indigenous organisations. Through its international climate and forest initiative, Norway has pledged to allocate hundreds of millions of US dollars to support measures adopted by Amazon countries to halt deforestation. At the same time, Norway is investing in companies that are abusing the rights of indigenous peoples and destroying the rainforest. This accords great responsibility to Norway.
The report concludes with a set of recommendations to Norwegian authorities on how they might strengthen their efforts to promote human rights in the Amazon region. Given the pressures to which human rights are being subjected such as documented in this report, it is necessary to consolidate the human rights component of Norway’s involvement in the Amazon.