Bolsonaro referred to Hague tribunal for ecocide and crimes against humanity
A Paris-based lawyer submitted a request for a preliminary tribunal on behalf of two prominent Indigenous leaders in Brazil, alleging environmental crimes and anti-Indigenous actions.
Under Bolsonaro, the Indigenous affairs agency has been stripped of land-oversight powers, incursions and raids on reserved land have more than doubled in the last two years, and poor COVID–19 response has left Indigenous people, already disproportionately affected by the disease, especially vulnerable.
On the environmental front, deforestation has accelerated to levels not seen in more than a decade, key environmental protections have been rolled back, and fines for environmental crimes have decreased by nearly 50%.
Global Protests: #BlackLivesMatter / Anti–Police Violence
Nearly four years ago, Outlas published a catalog of media coverage focused on global protests connected to the burgeoning #BlackLivesMatter movement. Today, the murder of Black American George Floyd by the police has re-galvanized demonstrations across the world’s continents, promoting diverse forms of solidarity across movements focused on affirming Black lives, eliminating racism, and ending police violence.
Floyd’s death is one among many that have pushed people into the streets of cities from Honolulu to East Jerusalem, drawing together accounts of the criminalization of people of color and other minority groups around the world. Despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, protesters around the world have gathered to interconnect their causes, demonstrating the resilience of a global anti-racism and anti–police brutality movement despite the lull in media coverage in recent years. This collection has gathered more than 150 articles, statements, and multimedia stories documenting the recent surge in protests and their interconnection.
A number of media outlets have mapped the development of demonstrations around the world and compiled media and accounts from protests, summarizing the connections between the diverse sites and expressions of solidarity journalists have uncovered.
The U.S. has experienced more than a week of protests in the wake of George Floyd’s murder. His death was the latest in a series of events that had drawn attention to ongoing violence and threats of violence faced by Black people in public space across the U.S., from racist vigilantism in Georgia to a dead-of-night police break-in and murder in New York. Protesters across all 50 states mobilized to contest police violence, prompting spectacular forms of police repression—including tear-gassing, beatings, tasing, and shootings—captured on video and circulated across social media platforms.
Canada has experienced its own widespread condemnation of police violence in the U.S., organizing massive demonstrations from Vancouver to Halifax in honor of the memory of George Floyd. Participants have also drawn attention to recent fatal incidents involving police—including the recent death of Afro-Indigenous woman Regis Korchinski-Paquet—and the disproportionate effects of police violence experienced by Black and Indigenous Canadians and other Canadians of color.
Afro-Latinx, Afro-Caribbean, and allied Latin American communities have also expressed solidarity with Black Americans, highlighting both the ongoing forms of marginalization experienced by Afro-descendant people in Central American countries and the complex relationships to racism across the Caribbean. Brazil, in particular, has been grappling with an entrenched police brutality problem that overwhelmingly threatens Afro-Brazilians—particularly those living in poor communities. The recent killing of 14-year-old João Pedro has reignited protests, with demonstrators drawing explicit connections to anti-Black police violence in the U.S.
Massive protests across Europe have centered not only the injustice of George Floyd’s death, but also ongoing forms of racism across the continent. In France, George’s death scratched at the wound of the 2016 murder of Adama Traoré in a suburb of Paris. In the UK, protest participants were quick to shut down any attempt to distance the UK from U.S.-style racism, highlighting ongoing discrimination experienced by Black communities in the country. Whether in the commemoration of colonial leaders responsible for the death of millions of Africans or stubborn denials of institutional racism, contemporary manifestations of racism drew the ire of demonstrators of all backgrounds.
Solidarity with protesters in the U.S. found diverse expression across Africa and the Middle East, from a mural in the rubble of an obliterated Syrian building to an open letter signed by dozens of African writers demanding accountability and pressuring African governments to do more. African political leaders, for their part, took the rare step of condemning the situation in the U.S.. But activists across the region also worked to draw attention to local police brutality problems as well, including the killing of autistic Palestinian Iyad Halak by Israeli border security and high levels of violence against women (both by police and by others not held to account by police) in Nigeria.
In the Asia-Pacific region, a range of responses to unrest in the U.S. has emerged. In a tit-for-tat with the U.S. government, Chinese officials have used the situation to draw attention to human rights violations in the U.S. as the U.S. has condemned China for its crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong. Elsewhere, police brutality has been a longstanding issue with respect to the treatment of indigenous communities. Thousands of protesters across Australia and New Zealand expressed solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement while also integrating the long history of anti-Indigenous violence into their calls for change. Similarly, the outbreak of protests in U.S. and the resurgence of global anti-racism consciousness provided an opportunity for activists and members of the Papuan diaspora to highlight the ongoing discrimination and violence experienced by indigenous Papuans at the hands of the Indonesian government.
Brazilian president strips indigenous affairs agency of land reservation capability
President Jair Bolsonaro issued a decree shifting the ability to create and define the boundaries of indigenous land reservations from the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI) to the Ministry of Agriculture.
Bolsonaro previously announced intentions to loosen environmental and indigenous protections, even as farming and mining groups carry out armed attacks against indigenous communities.
The order was the first of Bolsonaro’s presidency, issued only hours after taking office.
The current global push for the redress of epidemic violence against women—from #NiUnaMenos to #MeToo—has long been of national concern in Brazil, with women sharing stories of sexual assault via #MeuPrimeiroAssedio (#MyFirstHarassment) and demonstrations for reproductive rights having sought to counter entrenched conservative religious interests. For Afro-Brazilian women, this is part of decades of mobilization that has attempted to draw attention to both material and ideological disparities threatening their security. High homicide and sexual violence rates, reproductive healthcare limitations, anti-black beauty standards, and lack of positive cultural representation have led activists to demand attention to institutions and cultural practices that they argue have marginalized their welfare. From mass demonstrations to digital organizing, black women have taken the lead in movements for both racial and gender justice, challenging Brazil’s deeply embedded ideology of colorblindness and calling instead for more research into and accountability for persistent economic and cultural disparities.
The Uncertain Task of Defining Race in Brazilian Affirmative Action
The redress of racial injustice in Brazil, long stymied by the country’s reputation as a “racial democracy,” has gained increasing political attention thanks to the work of black activists across the nation. Brazil’s recent attempts to install socioeconomic and racial quotas in public university admissions have created a number of challenges as fraud and race-policing have pitted student against student in ensuring fair enforcement, particularly as verification committees decide race based on appearance rather than heritage. Foreign Policy and The Globe and Mail examine the volatile debates surrounding Brazil’s new affirmative action policies and the general uneasiness the country has experienced as it has begun to address the long history of discrimination against its black, brown, and indigenous citizens.
Budget cuts and proposed land rights and environmental rollbacks threaten indigenous communities in Brazil
Fundação Nacional do Índio (FUNAI), the government agency responsible for the protection of indigenous communities, faces large budget cuts under President Michel Temer’s government that advocates say could increase the insecurity of indigenous groups, particularly of the more than 100 uncontacted groups in the country.
A draft decree seeks to increase the level of scrutiny applied in the demarcation of indigenous land reservations, annulling certain previously secured land rights and making the recognition of new claims considerably more difficult.
A proposed bill seeks to overhaul environmental licensing protocol, shifting from federally managed licensing procedures to flexible, state-based determinations of licensing necessity for agricultural and land-use projects.
Brazil sees sharp uptick in violence against its LGBT community
Nearly 1,600 LGBT people have been murdered in the last four-and-a-half years according to one advocacy group.
Despite Brazil’s reputation for tolerance, a growing evangelical population steadily amassing political power has led a conservative backlash to the country’s progressive legal integration and protection of sexual and gender minorities.
The homicide spike follows a general uptick in violence in Brazil, which has seen a 15% increase in homicides over the last year as the country has slid into recession.
As a series of controversial shootings of African-American men by police has renewed attention to the Black Lives Matter movement in the U.S., people around the world have stood in solidarity with black Americans seeking to root out racial profiling, excessive use of force, and lack of accountability in U.S. law enforcement. For some, the demonstrations have been defined mostly by a kind of international allyism, but in many parts of the world, the American movement has prompted reflection on the treatment of local black communities—native, historical, and immigrant—by law enforcement, politicians, and broader society. Here is a look at the global demonstrations and solidarity movements in the name of Black Lives Matter: Continue reading Global Events: Black Lives Matter Protests→
Gang rape of 16-year-old sparks protests in Brazil
The case garnered international attention when a video went up on Twitter showing more than 30 men participating in the rape of the girl, apparently unconscious, in a Rio favela.
The crime was exacerbated by a slow, victim-antagonistic police response and a flood of misogynistic messages on social media.
Thousands marched in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo in protest of high levels of gender-based violence in the country, with upwards of 10% of Brazilian women reporting cases of sexual violence along and a larger number of unreported cases.
One of the few truly global holidays, International Workers’ Day (May Day) is both a worldwide celebration of the working classes as well as a day to draw attention to ongoing insecurities workers around the world face. May Day has historically had a twofold purpose: a day for workers to voice their concerns over contentious labor policies and for governments to reaffirm their commitments to workers’ rights and just labor practices. At times little more than public relations campaigns and at others violent clashes between governments and workers, global May Day events have highlighted the diverse relationships between labor, employers, and government around the world. Here are the highlights of May Day 2016 in more than 30 countries:
Bike rallies were held in Pune as Indian PM Narendra Modi saluted workers on Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas, a public holiday. Pakistan‘s major labor unions convened in Lahore to speak out against poor working conditions, violations of international labor conventions, and ongoing privatization in the country. As Bangladeshi officials addressed labor relations and welfare reforms amidst a day of union-organized programming, in Kathmandu, Nepali workers marched while awaiting the ratification of the Labour Act, which guarantees greater social security for workers. Across the Indian Ocean, Australian union leader singled out penalty rate protection and tax reform as major Labour Day issues, with the date of the holiday having been a point of contention as well.
In cities across France, tens of thousands marched in protest against proposed labor reforms that would loosen the country’s controversial employment and job security policies. Jeremy Corbyn became the first U.K. Labour party leader to attend a May Day rally in a half-century when he spoke to a crowd of thousands in London, reaffirming solidarity against anti-immigrant sentiment and addressing anti-Semitism accusations that have plagued his party recently. Spain saw thousands across its cities gather, many protesting ongoing austerity measures. An estimated 800,000 gathered in Rome‘s San Giovanni Square, with this year’s event dedicated to slain Italian student Giulio Regeni.
Some 2,000 convened in rain-soaked Zagreb to hear labor leaders protest the increased retirement age and ongoing poverty in Croatia. Moscow hosted a mass demonstration in the city’s Red Square estimated in size from the tens of thousands to 100,000, while thousands gathered in Istanbul’s Bakirköy district under a heavy police presence in the wake of urban suicide attacks and ongoing violence across Turkey.
From New York to Los Angeles, demonstrations in the U.S. highlighted widening economic inequality in the country and an election season marred by racist, xenophobic, and Islamophobic sentiment. While most protests took place without incident, a peaceful march turned violent in Seattle, leading to five injured officers and nine arrests. A similar outbreak in Montreal led to one injury and 10 arrests.
In Latin America, Brazil‘s embattled president and Workers’ Party leader Dilma Roussef rallied alongside hundreds of thousands across the country as her impeachment proceedings continue and workers fear the inauguration of her center-right vice president. Cuba‘s May Day parade continued the national tradition of expressing support for the Castro regime rather than directly celebrating labor or expressing concerns over labor conditions. In Argentina, President Mauricio Macro backed employers and touted labor proposals that had spurred mass demonstrations only days before. Elsewhere in the region, minimum wage increases were announced in Venezuela and Bolivia and a march took place in Santiago as Chilean President Michelle Bachelet announced a review of her labor reforms after the Supreme Court rejected a key provision granting exclusive negotiating rights to unions.
Middle East & Africa
Police in Egyptblocked hundreds of workers from assembling in a Cairo office as labor leaders and international organizations called for the government to decriminalize independent union organization. In Israel, more than 5,000 youth marched in Tel Aviv, while a Palestinian trade union renewed its call for the establishment of a minimum wage and the dismantlement of the Gaza blockade. A government-sponsored event in Dubai reportedly drew nearly 200 workers, though labor practices in the UAE continue to draw international scrutiny.
South of the Sahara, events popped up across South Africa as politicians sought to address the country’s high unemployment rate and appeal to workers ahead of August elections. In Nigeria, President Mohammadu Buhari spoke to thousands of workers in Abuja, touting his anti-corruption campaign. A Mozambique labor leader addressed a crowd in Maputo about the debts of state-owned companies and the need for wage and workplace reform. As the decline of oil prices has created economic hardship throughout Angola, the country’s two labor unions marched to draw attention to deteriorating worker conditions and the need for infrastructure maintenance. Workers in Ghana protested the privatization of the management of the state-owned Electric Company of Ghana, while the government insisted the company was still run by the state. Meanwhile, Ethiopia sidestepped Sunday commemorations altogether by moving May Day to May 3, when labor leaders plan to highlight ongoing struggles to organize Ethiopian workers.
Increasing violence plagues Brazilian land rights activists
After 50 died in 2015, at least six activists were killed in the first two months of 2016 as land rights groups report increased intimidation, criminalization, and violence committed against them.
Activists have sought reform to protect the at times conflicting land rights of small farmers and indigenous communities, particularly in rural states.
Brazil has some of the highest land-proprietary inequality in the world, with 1% of the population owning nearly 50% of the land and single families subject to payments from as many as tens of thousands of property owners thanks to a colonial-era law.
Study shows 90% of indigenous peoples in Amazonian Brazil suffering from mercury poisoning
Illegal gold mining in northern Brazil has contaminated the water and food sources of at least 19 different Yanomami and Yekuana communities along with Nahua tribes in Peru.
In addition to the rise of illegal mining over the last three decades, uncontacted Yanomami communities have faced environmental crises and decades-old controversies over the status of their blood used for genetic testing by American anthropologists.
The study was a joint project of Brazilian health foundation Fiocruz, the Hutukara Yanomami Association, the Yekuana Association, and Brazilian NGO Socio-Environmental Institute.
As cases of Zika infection and newborn microcephaly have exploded in heavily Catholic and evangelical Brazil, the country’s tough abortion laws—preventing the procedure except in cases of rape, maternal health endangerment, and child inviability—have come back into the international spotlight. Legislators have proposed the possible prison sentence for women who undergo an abortion from one to three years to four-and-a-half for women who abort because of detected microcephaly, with doctors facing up to 15 years. Brazil’s class divide has exacerbated healthcare restrictions, constraining women of less means to life-threatening procedures (including black market pills, Internet-advised intervention, acid injections, and self-attempted extraction) while wealthy women enjoy access to overseas healthcare and hidden networks of clinics and doctors. Vocativ takes a look at the dire straits Brazilian women seeking an abortion find themselves in and attempts to gain reproductive rights.
Countries around the world are increasingly acknowledging the extreme physical and psychological effects of LGBT “conversion” or “reparative therapy,” pseudoscientific practices including electroshock therapy, sexual violence, and psychological assault run in an effort to purge LGBT individuals of their sexual and gender orientations and identities. From East Asia to the Americas to the Middle East, governments have begun banning such practices, though they continue to run to the financial and psychological detriment of their subjects. The Guardian examines global stories and efforts to dismantle the phenomenon.