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Water and land conflicts increase in Brazil

  • Water and land conflicts increase in Brazil
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A report presented earlier this month at the National Bishops Conference of Brazil shows an upward trend in the number of people involved in water and land disputes in this country, informs The Río Times.

According to the report, prepared by the Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Care, 2018 had the highest number of water disputes since 2002, with a 40% increase between 2017 and 2018. It reveals that more than half of the conflicts are a consequence of mining projects, particularly in connection to hydropower development. Other infrastructure necessary for mining, namely warehouses, roads, railways and pipelines are also to blame for the conflicts with the communities living in those areas.

Regarding land disputes, the data are also gloomy: close to one million people were involved in land conflicts in 2018, 35.6% more than in 2017. The number of families involved also increased by 11% compared to 2017.

In rural areas, the number of land-related murders declined to 28 in 2018, compared to 71 in 2017, but the trend already shows an increase in the first few months of 2019. The authors of the report are also concerned about families living in rural areas: only in 2018, a total of 2,307 families were forced out from lands by Brazilian authorities.

The document also highlights the number of workers that are victims of pesticide poisoning, and the incidence of slave labour. The latter is on the rise, with 86 cases in 2018, affecting 1,465 people, of whom 945 were released.

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