Sugarcane growers illegally deforest area occupied by indigenous people in RN

Sugarcane growers illegally deforest area occupied by indigenous people in RN
Sugarcane growers illegally deforest area occupied by indigenous people in RN

The Environmental Protection Area (APA) APA Piquiri-Una, between the cities of Goianinha and Canguaretama, has been the target of illegal deforestation actions to plant sugar cane. The region is traditionally occupied by indigenous people of the Potiguara Katu people.

According to chief Luiz Katu, an area equivalent to 10 football fields where there was a mangaba plantation was cut down.

“I am very sad to have identified, together with my relatives, a large felling of a mangabeira table area, where our relatives earn their livelihood, they collect mangaba for five months during the year and these five months are fundamental to guarantee food security for the year all of our relatives here in the village”, said the chief, in a video published by the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples and Organizations of the Northeast, Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo (APOINME).

Katu said that this felling began about a month ago and complaints have already been made. Deforestation there, however, is not new.

“Now they are setting fire to the mangabeiras region to disappear with the debris from the felled forest, and we are asking for help”, he said.

A Know more, the chief reported that since deforestation was identified, they began to mobilize environmental protection bodies, such as the Institute for Sustainable Development and Environment of Rio Grande do Norte (IDEMA) and the Management Council of APA Piquiri-Una . Federal Police and Federal Public Ministry (MPF) were also called.

“The Federal Public Ministry has already come here three times to take action on this deforestation site. Machines were even removed from the site, but the sugarcane growers are criminals. They don’t give up. They return to work a week after the area is vacated, they return and start working. We identified two weeks ago that they had placed limestone in the area to make the railings and prepare the land for planting and starting the planting of sugar cane”, said Luiz Katu.

On January 26 of this year, a team from the Military Police’s Environmental Policing Battalion, together with IDEMA and ITEP, had already identified the crime of illegal deforestation of Atlantic forest in the Piquiri-una Environmental Protection Area.

No people were found at the scene at the time, but the team seized the machines, gallons of gasoline, tools and other items used in the criminal action.

In addition to Goianinha and Canguaretama, the Piquiri-Una APA covers part of the municipalities of Espírito Santo, Pedro Velho and Várzea, with the Atlantic Forest and Caatinga Biomes present, as well as important rivers that make up the sub-basins of the Curimataú, Catú and Jacú.

In addition to current crimes, in the past the Katu people had a space for the burial of children called the Angel Cemetery. The space, however, was also taken over by sugarcane growers for their plantations.

“Today the cemetery of the angels of Aldeia Katu is a sugarcane field, it is sugarcane above the memory of our people”, stated the chief.

When contacted, IDEMA informed that it is adopting administrative measures, which are within the authority of the body.

“The Institute for Sustainable Development and the Environment – ​​IDEMA informs that, in relation to the report of deforestation in the Piquiri-Una Environmental Protection Area, it is known to the agency and the region has been frequently inspected by the Inspection team. IDEMA has already carried out numerous fines and seizures, and is taking the appropriate administrative measures to hold the agents involved accountable.”

The Minister of Indigenous Peoples, Sônia Guajajara, is in Rio Grande do Norte participating in activities and at 2 pm she will meet with indigenous leaders in Natal. Luiz Katu said that, at the meeting, he will demand the specific agenda of land demarcation in the state, but will also present cases of deforestation in the APA.

“I am about to make a specific speech showing all the damage, all the degradation, all the violation of our traditionally occupied territory due to the lack of demarcation, due to the lack of demarcated indigenous lands in the state of Rio Grande do Norte”.

The article is in Portuguese

Tags: Sugarcane growers illegally deforest area occupied indigenous people



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