Brazilian Amazon activists shot dead as new Forest Code bill advancesMay 25th, 2011 - 9:41 pm ICT by BNO News
BRASILIA, BRAZIL (BNO NEWS) — A Brazilian Amazon activist and his wife were killed in the northern region of the country, as Brazil’s House of Deputies approved a new Forest Code, local media reported.
Ecologists Joao Claudio Ribeiro da Silva, 54, and his wife Maria do Espirito Santo, 53, were ambushed and shot dead on a road to Rural New Ipixuna in the northern Brazilian state of Para, Brazilian delegate Marcos Augusto Cruz told O Globo.
Da Silva and do Espirito Santo were traveling on the road which leads the settlement where they live, and according to reports, the couple was being followed by a motorcyclist. At one point, when they had to reduce their speed to go over a bridge, they were intercepted and shot dead by snipers.
Cruz said the perpetrators had planned their attack and were waiting for the couple to pass through, as they had previously received a number of death threats from loggers and cattle ranchers.
The couple’s killings occurred just hours before Brazil’s House of Deputies approved the new Forest Code, which would help ranchers and farmers increase their food production by allowing them to expand their lands to river banks and hilltops, which were previously excluded areas. In addition, small-scale farms, which make up most of the Amazon’s farms, will not be required to replant deforested areas.
Environmentalists fear the new code would increase the Amazon’s deforestation, which has already been on the rise in recent years. Currently, 20 percent of the Amazon, the world’s largest rain forest, has been deforested.
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, who has promised to veto the Forest Code, ordered authorities to carry out an investigation into da Silva and do Espirto Santo’s killings.
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Tags: amazon activist, bno, brazilian amazon, brazilian president, brazilian state, cattle ranchers, death threats, deforestation, deforested areas, dilma rousseff, food production, forest code, hilltops, motorcyclist, new forest, o globo, rain forest, ribeiro da silva, river banks, wife maria