Brazil Prosecutors Call for Halt to Amazon Dam Evictions

June 20, 2015

Federal prosecutors in Brazil have called for the authorities to stop the eviction of at least 2,000 families living in an area of the Amazon jungle where a huge dam is being built.

The prosecutor’s office says the consortium building the Belo Monte dam has broken numerous agreements on the relocation of residents.

Most of the people facing eviction are from indigenous groups.

Belo Monte will be the world’s third largest hydro-electric dam.

The Brazilian prosecutor’s office has produced a preliminary report that “recommends urgent intervention in the process to halt the demolitions and the violation of rights of the population evicted”.

‘Demolition boat’

The Norte Energy consortium had signed a contract with guarantees that the farmers and fishermen living in the area would be relocated and provided with alternative means of survival, the prosecutors say.

The contract has been breached 55 times, according to the report.

It recommends immediate action to halt the work of a vessel, “known as the demolition boat,” hired by the consortium.

“It has been travelling along the Xingu river evicting the families who live by the river, in the area to be flooded by the Belo Monte dam,” it says.

Construction on the controversial dam in the northern state of Para was approved by the Brazilian Congress in 2005 but only began in 2011.

Environmentalists and indigenous rights activists have opposed the project from the beginning, saying a vast area of rainforest will be flooded, threatening wildlife and affecting the lives of thousands of people.

The government says the dam is crucial for development and will create jobs, as well as providing electricity to 23 million homes.

The 11,000-megawatt dam will be the third biggest in the world – after the Three Gorges in China and Itaipu, which is jointly run by Brazil and Paraguay.

It is expected to cost between $11bn (£7bn) and $17bn (£11bn).

Brazil prosecutors call for halt to Amazon dam evictions