Survival International Update on Guarani Land
Raizen signed a historic agreement with FUNAI. The company agrees to stop buying sugar cane from Guarani lands until the 25th of November
A company established by the Shell biofuels in Brazil has dropped controversial plans to purchase sugar cane land stolen from an Indian tribe, after a vociferous campaign by Survival International and the Indians.
The company, Raizen, was established in 2010 as a joint venture of Shell and Brazilian ethanol giant company, Cosan, to produce biofuels from sugar cane.
However, some of that sugar cane is grown on land claimed by the Guarani tribe, an indigenous peoples' most persecuted and impoverished South America Their leaders are often killed by gunmen hired by sugarcane farmers and ranchers, who have occupied almost the entire territory of the Guarani.
Now, Raizen has agreed to stop buying sugar cane from indigenous lands declared by the Ministry of Justice. After the campaign of Survival, and pressure of the Public Prosecution Service, negotiations began between Raizen and FUNAI (National Indian Foundation).
The advance also means that the company consult Raizen FUNAI to avoid investment or expansion in areas of conflict that could be recognized as indigenous lands in the future.
Guarani Indians have been protesting against the activities Raizen company on their land.
The news is welcomed by the Guarani Indians. Many live in appalling conditions , reservations or over-crowded camps on the roadside after being forcibly evicted from their land.
The community of Veron Valdelice in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, are directly affected. The Guarani this locality declare that rivers have been polluted by pesticides used in plantations. Valdelice says, 'Now we can take water from our lands again. We can start over again. '
The Raizen recognizes the number of acute issues faced by the Guarani people and promises to develop a 'social investment program focused on indigenous peoples.'
The company told Survival, 'We want to use our withdrawal as a good example for other companies to follow. We pledge to respect indigenous lands declared by the Ministry of Justice. '
The decision could mark a historic precedent in Brazil; Raizen 'definitely cease' to buy sugar cane land declaras Indians, until the next November 25.
The director of Survival International, Stephen Corry said today, "Raizen's decision is excellent news for the Guarani, who are being abandoned to the hazards of death in the roadsides, and crushed their own lands for the production of sugar cane . Other companies should follow the example of Raizen, and stop funding the theft of the Guarani land. It is time that the world will awaken to the fact that biofuels are spotted by Brazilian Indian blood."
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