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340+ organisations call on the EU to immediately halt trade negotiations with Brazil

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Mato Grosso, Brazil – Photo by Icaro Cooke Vieira/CIFOR

IATP et al | 18 Jun 2019

340+ organisations call on the EU to immediately halt trade negotiations with Brazil

In an open letter, over 340 civil society organisations are demanding that the European Union immediately halt free trade agreement negotiations with the Mercosur bloc (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay) on the grounds of deteriorating human rights and environmental conditions in Brazil. The letter is addressed to presidents of the EU institutions ahead of the ministerial-level meeting next week in Brussels where EU and Mercosur foreign ministers aim to finalise the negotiations.

Dowload the PDF version of the letter here.
German version of the letter (PDF)French version of the letterSpanish versionPortuguese version

Dear President of the European Council, President of the European Commission, President of the European Parliament,

We, the undersigned civil society organizations, are writing to call on the European Union to use its influence to prevent a worsening human rights and environmental situation in Brazil.

In April, more than 600 European scientists and two Brazilian Indigenous organizations, representing 300 Brazilian Indigenous groups, called for the EU to act as a global leader in supporting human rights, human dignity and a habitable climate by making sustainability the cornerstone of its trade negotiations with Brazil. We fully support this call.

Bound by the Treaty of the European Union, the EU and its Member States vowed to respect and promote human rights as an overarching objective in its dealings with other countries. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has also clearly stated the need for new EU trade agreements to deliver sustainable development.

Since the inauguration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in January 2019, we have witnessed increased human rights violations, attacks on minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBTQ and other traditional communities. Moreover, the administration continues to threaten the basic democratic functioning of civil society while instigating a fundamental assault on some of the world’s most precious and ecologically valuable regions.

We are deeply concerned about the following:

  • Indigenous lands demarcation has been put under the jurisdiction of the Agriculture Ministry, paving the way for powerful cattle and soy agribusinesses to accelerate their sweep through the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical forest and the Cerrado, the world’s most biodiverse savannah. Though this controversial measure appears to have been temporarily reversed in May by the Brazilian Senate, President Bolsonaro may still veto it.
  • There has been a dramatic increase in attacks on Indigenous people, other traditional communities and their territories. In February, at least 14 protected Indigenous territories were reported to be under attack from invaders. In addition, the government abolished more than 35 national councils of social participation. Attacks on people defending their territories or natural resources are on the rise in rural Brazil, resulting in increasing deaths of community leaders, peasants and activists.
  • Bolsonaro’s campaign promise of “ending any form of activism” was implemented on his first day in office, empowering the government to “supervise, coordinate, monitor and observe the activities and actions of international agencies and non-governmental organisations within national territory.”
  • Both the Environment Ministry and the Foreign Affairs Ministry are now led by deniers of global warming, leading to the abolishment of departments responsible for climate change. Even as Brazil remains a signatory to the Paris Agreement on climate change, it is becoming unlikely that the administration will take the necessary measures to implement the agreement.
  • Socio-environmental legislation and policies have been dramatically weakened during the first 100 days of the new government. The Forest Code has been undermined with new measures proposing the reduction of legal reserves and a more flexible deadline for land regularization by landgrabbers. In January 2019, deforestation in the Amazon reportedly rose by 54 percent compared to the same period in 2018.

Civil society actors, activists, peasants, workers and minorities face extreme dangers from the incendiary rhetoric of the Bolsonaro government and its supporters. This includes his labeling of members of grassroots movements like the Landless Workers Movement and the Movement of Homeless as “terrorists,” generating concerns that Brazil’s controversial anti-terrorist law will be used to criminalize social activists.

The EU is Brazil’s second-largest trading partner overall, second-largest importer of Brazilian soy and a major importer of Brazilian beef and other agricultural products. The EU, therefore, has a responsibility to address human rights and environmental injustices taking place in Brazil under the Bolsonaro government. It must use its leverage to support civil society, human rights and the environment.

The EU is in the midst of negotiating a far-reaching Mercosur trade deal that seeks to expand market access and trade between the two regions, including Brazil. It is imperative that the EU sends an unequivocal message to President Bolsonaro that the EU will refuse to negotiate a trade deal with Brazil until there is an end to human rights violations, strict measures to end further deforestation and concrete commitments to implement the Paris Agreement.

In the past, the EU has suspended trade preferences with countries involved in human rights violations, such as Myanmar and the Philippines. In addition, the EU has restricted imports of products whose production is related to human rights in the case of conflict minerals. It is time that the EU takes a similar, tough stance to prevent a deterioration of the human rights and environmental situation in Brazil.

We therefore call on you to:

  1. Immediately halt negotiations for an EU-Mercosur free trade agreement.
  2. Guarantee that no Brazilian products sold in the EU, nor the financial markets underpinning them, are leading to increases in deforestation, land grabbing of native lands or human rights violations.
  3. Demand confirmation, with material evidence, that the Brazilian government will fulfill its commitments as part of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  4. Increase support for Brazilian civil society, including strengthening the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy and proactive consultations with Brazilian civil society organisations that address human rights and the democratic functioning of Brazilian civil society.
  5. Monitor and respond to human rights violations—including investigating cases since Bolsonaro’s election—and strengthen mechanisms to protect human rights defenders. For those most at risk, including Indigenous peoples and environmental defenders, the EU should provide direct and urgent support where required, including through political representations.


ALBA Movimientos
FIAN International
foodwatch international
ISP Interamericas
OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture
Plataforma América Latina mejor sin TLC
Alianza Biodiversidad
PSI Public Service International Américas

CIDSE – International family of Catholic social justice organisations
Climate Alliance
Corporate Europe Observatory
EU-LAT Network
European Coordination Via Campesina
European Environmental Bureau
Food & Water Europe
Friends of the Earth Europe
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) Europe
S2B network
Slow Food Europe

Acción por la Biodiversidad
Amigos de la Tierra Argentina
AMUMRA – Asociación Civil de Derechos Humanos Mujeres Unidas Migrantes y Refugiadas en Argentina
Asamblea Argentina mejor sin TLC
ATTAC Argentina
COMUNA (Colectiva en Movimiento por una Universidad Nuestramericana) en el FPDS-CN
Diálogo 2000 – Jubileo Sur Argentina
Frente Patria Grande
Frente Popular Dario Santillan
Fundación Grupo Efecto Positivo
Resumen Latinoamericano
Vamos- Frente Patria Grande

Anders Handeln
Attac Austria
Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour/AK Europa
Climate Alliance Austria
Coordination office of the Austrian episcopal conference for international development and mission (KOO)
DKA Austria
Grüne Bildungswerkstatt NÖ
Grupo Encuentro Austria Argentina – GEAA
Informationsgruppe Lateinamerika (IGLA)
International Fellowship of Reconciliation Austria
Jahoda -Bauer Institut
NeSoVe / Network Social Responsibility
ÖBV-Via Campesina Austria
Parents For Future Vienna
proge Union
Selbstbesteuerungsgruppe Bischof Kräutler

Basque Country
Mugarik Gabe

Commission Justice et Paix
Broederlijk Delen
Commission Justice et Paix
Entraide et Fraternité
FIAN Belgium
FIAN Belgium

Fundación Solón

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Centar za zivotnu sredinu/ Friends of the Earth Bosnia and Herzegovina

Justiça nos Trilhos
Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens – MAB
AMAU (Articulação Metropolitana de Agricultura Urbana e Periurbana)
Associação Alternativa Terrazul
Asssociação para Recuperação e Conservação do Ambiente – ARCA
Campanha Antipetroleira “Nem um poço a mais!”
Caritas Arquidiocesana de Brasília
Central Única dos Trabalhadores – CUT
Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores em Seguridade Social da CUT
Convívio Slow Food Parahyba
FASE – Solidariedade e Educação
Fasubra sindical
Federação das Organizações Indígenas do Rio Negro – FOIRN
Federação Nacional dos Enfermeiros
Fórum da Amazônia Oriental – FAOR
Grupo semente
INESC – Instituto de Estúdios Socioeconômicos
İnstituto EQUİT – Gênero, Economia e Cidadania Global
Instituto Floresta de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento Sustentável
Jubileu Sul Brasil
Justiça Global
Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra – MST
Movimento Urbano de Agroecologia – MUDA
OLMA – Observatório Nacional de Justiça Socioambiental Luciano Mendes de Almeida
Operação Amazônia Nativa
REBRİP- Rede Brasileira pela İntegração dos Povos
Rede Jubileu Sul
Slow Food Brasil
Slow Food Salvador
Tribunal Populr

Za Zemiata – Friends of the Earth Bulgaria

Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine – CDHAL

Catalunya – Organitzacions per a la Justícia Global

Plataforma Chile mejor sin TLC

Coordinación social y política Marcha Patriótica
Marcha Patriotica
Proceso de Comunidades Negras

Zelena akcija / Friends of the Earth Croatia

Friends of the Earth Cyprus

Czech Republic
Ekumenicka akademie

Global Aktion
NOAH – Friends of the Earth
Verdens Skove

Observatorio Sociolaboral y del Diálogo Social Ecuador
Oficina de Derechos de la Nauraleza

El Salvador
Colectiva Feminista para el Desarrollo Local
Fundación de e Estudios para la Aplicación del Derecho -FESPAD
Fundación de Estudios para la Aplicación del Derecho -FESPAD-

England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland

Estonian Forest Aid (Eesti Metsa Abiks)
Estonian Society for Nature Conservation

Friends of the Earth Finland
Friends of the Landless
TTIP Network Finland

ActionAid France
alofa tuvalu
AMAR Brasil
Attac France
collectif anti ogm 66
Collectif Causse Méjean – Gaz de Schiste NON !
Collectif Stop TAFTA / CETA
Comité Pauvreté et Politique
Commitee in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples of the Americas (CSIA-Nitassinan)
Confederation paysanne
Confédération Paysanne Tarn
Emmaüs International
FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights)
France Amerique Latine
France Nature Environnement
LDH pays Rochefortais
Le Lien 26
Les Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth France)
Les Amis du Monde Diplomatique
Les Amis du Mouvement des Sans Terre
Parents For Future France
Réseau européen pour la Démocratie au Brésil (
réseau Roosevelt
Veblen Institute

France/Basque Country

AG Recife e.V.
Agrar Koordination
Agrecol e.V.
Andy Gheorghiu Consulting
ARA e.V.
Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft (AbL)
Bischöfliches Hilfswerk MISEREOR
Brasiliengruppe Tübingen
Brasilieninitiative Freiburg e.V.
Brasiliennetzwerk Niedersachsen
Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND) / Friends of the Earth Germany
BUND Laichingen
Coordination gegen BAYER-Gefahren
Die AnStifter
Die AnStifter Stuttgart
Dona Flor e.V.
Eine-Welt-Verein Pachamama Stuttgart
Elternseminar Stuttgart
Erich Fromm Institute Tuebingen
FDCL – Center for Research and Documentation Chile-Latin America
FIAN Deutschland
Forum Ökologie & Papier
GegenStrömung – CounterCurrent
German NGO Forum on Environment and Development
Health and Environment Justice Support International
Informationsbüro Nicaragua e.V.
Initiative kikuna e.V. – Zukunft Nachhaltig Gestalten
just human e.V.
Kaite-ZIM e. V.
Kölner Bündnis für gerechten Welthandel
Kolumbienkampagne Berlin
Kooperation Brasilien e.V.
Lernen im Aufbruch
mediation and project management agrobiodiversity
mediation and project management agrobiodiversity
Naturfreunde Württemberg e.V.
Naturschutzbund Deutschland
Netzwerk Gerechter Welthandel
Parents For Future Bensheim
Parents for Future Freiburg
Parents for Future Stuttgart
POEMA – Armut und Umwelt in Amazonien
PowerShift e.V.
Save Our Seeds
Society for Threatened Peoples
Stiftung Solidarische Welt – Berta Kühnle
Verein für eine gerechte Welt e.V.
WEED – World Economy, Ecology & Development
Welthaus Fürth
Weltladen Rottenburg
Weltladen-Dachverband e.V.
Women Engage for a Common Future
Wuppertaler Aktionsbündnis gegen TTIP und andere Freihandelsfallen
Parents for Future Dortmund

Consumer association for quality of life- ekpizo

Asociación Comunitaria para el Desarrollo ASERJUS
Comité de Unidad Campesina
consejo de investigaciones en desarrollo
Servicios Jurídicos y Sociales, S.C.

Plateforme Haïtienne de Plaidoyer pour un Développement Alternatif


Clean Air Action Group
Magyar Természetvédők Szövetsége (Friends of the Earth Hungary)

My Right To Breathe

An Claíomh Glas
forest friends ireland
Guarani-Kaiowa Solidarity Ireland
Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers’ Association
Latin America Solidarity Centre
Leave No Trace Ireland
Peoples Movement – Gluaiseacht an Phobail
Radio Latina
Stop Ceta Alliance

Fair watch
Parents For Future – Turin
Stop TTIP Italia

ASTM (Action Solidarité Tiers Monde)
Bio-Lëtzebuerg asbl
Mouvement Ecologique
natur&ëmwelt a.s.b.l.

Nature Trust – FEE Malta

Red Mexicana de Acción frente al libre Comercio


Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales DAR
Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH)
La Junta
Movimiento Nacional de Mujeres Todas Somos Micaela
Red Peruana por una Globalización con Equidad – RedGE
Red Peruana por una Globalización con Equidad RedGE
Federación de Trabajadores del Agua Potable del Perú – FENTAP-

Institute of Global Responsibility (IGO)

Associação de Combate à Precariedade – Precários Inflexíveis
Circo de Sonho
Corporations- Zero Tolerance
Glocal Faro
Glocal Faro
Mafra sem Glifosato
MAPA – Movimento de Acção Política
Palombar – Associação de Conservação da Natureza e do Património Rural
Parents For Future Portugal
plataforma algarve livre de petroleo
plataforma algarve livre de petroleo
Porto Sem OGM
Quercus, Associação Nacional de Conservação da Natureza
SOS Racismo Portugal
Teachers for Future
TROCA- Plataforma por um Comércio Internacional Justo
ZERO – Association for the Sustainability of the Earth System

Friends of the Siberian Forests

Amigas de la Tierra
Amigos de la Tierra
ASiA- Associació Salut i Agroecologia
Attac Spain
Campanya Catalunya No als TCI
Col.lectiu Agudells
DES DE BAIX (Asociación para el debate y la Acción Ciudadana)
Ecologistas en Acción
Ecologistes en Acció Catalunya
Economistas sin Fronteras
Enginyeria Sense Fronteres
Iniciativa Cambio Personal Justicia Global
ISCOD – Instituto Sindical de Cooperación al desarrollo de UGT
Marxa Mundial de Dones-Catalunya
Observatorio de Multinacionales en América Latina – Paz con Dignidad
Podemos Centro
SETEM Catalunya

FIAN Sweden
Jordens Vanner
Latinamerikagrupperna // Solidaridad Suecia-América Latina (SAL)
Parents For Future Sweden

Bruno Manser Fund
Centre for Developmet and Environment, University of Bern
Pro Natura / Friends of the Earth Switzerland

The Netherlands
Commons Network
La Chispa, digitaal platform over Latijns Amerika
Milieudefensie – Friends of the Earth Netherlands
Platform Aarde Boer Consument
Platform Duurzame en Solidaire Economie
Transnational Institute
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom dutch section

United Kingdom
Banana Link
CORE Coalition
Farms not Factories
Global Justice Now
Globalizations journal
Health and Trade Network
Health and Trade Network
London Mining Network
Parents For Future UK
Traidcraft Exchange
War on Want

United Kingdom/France
Rethinking Value Chains

United Kingdom/The Netherlands
Forest Peoples Programme

REDES-Amigos del Tierra (FoE) Uruguay

 source: S2B