Amazon Watch, International Rivers, Movimento Xingu Vivo
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | June 23, 2012
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Altamira, Brazil – Indigenous peoples affected by the controversial Belo Monte dam complex now under construction along the Xingu River in the Brazilian Amazon have occupied a coffer dam that cuts across channels of the river since last Thursday June 21. Warriors from the Xikrin and Juruna indigenous groups arrived from the Bacajá River and Big Bend of the Xingu River in order to occupy one of Belo Monte’s main dams and work camps, expressing dissatisfaction with the blatant disregard of their rights and the dam building consortium’s non-compliance with socio-environmental mitigation measures. The groups independently organized the action and are demanding the presence of the Norte Energia (NESA) dam-building consortium and the Brazilian government.
The occupiers come from a region of the Xingu downstream of Belo Monte that will suffer from a permanent drought provoked by the diversion of 80% of the river’s flow into an artificial dam to feed the dam’s powerhouse.
The indigenous peoples are outraged that promised actions by government-led Norte Energia – many of which constitute legal obligations of environmental licenses issued for the Belo Monte complex – have not been implemented. According to protest leaders, a program designed to mitigate and compensate impacts of the mega-dam project on indigenous peoples and their territories known as the PBA (Plano Básico Ambiental) has not been presented in local villages as promised.