Climate Activists Call for Research on Brazilian President

A group of climate lawyers on Tuesday (Oct 12) called for the International Criminal Court (ICC) to launch an investigation into Brazil’s president for possible crimes against humanity in his administration’s policies on the Amazon.

The AllRise group filed a lawsuit with the ICC alleging that Jair Bolsonaro’s government was responsible for widespread attacks on the Amazon, its forest-dependent people, and its defenders.

The call comes less than three weeks before the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, known as COP26, which kicks off on October 31 in Glasgow.

The 12-day summit aims to secure more ambitious commitments to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius with the aim of keeping it to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. The event also focused on mobilizing finance to combat climate change and protect vulnerable communities and natural habitats.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

Since taking office, Bolsonaro has pushed for development in the Amazon region and has viewed world complaints about its demise as a plot to stifle Brazilian agribusiness development. His administration has also weakened the authority of environmental authorities and supported legislative measures to relax land protection and thus support the actions of land grabbers.

“A crime against nature is a crime against humanity. Jair Bolsonaro sparked Amazon’s mass destruction with his eyes wide open. He is fully aware of the consequences,” AllRise founder Johannes Wesemann said in a statement. “The ICC has a clear duty to investigate environmental crimes with such global gravity.”

This is not the first time Brazil’s far-right leaders have asked the ICC to intervene. Two years ago, a group of Brazilian lawyers and former ministers asked the court to investigate Bolsonaro for allegedly inciting genocide against indigenous peoples and failing to protect the forests and protected lands they live in. [ab/uh]

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