Brazilian Indians threatened by World Bank loan failure

11 August 2000

A July Urgent Action bulletin from Survival International urges the World Bank and Government of Brazil to act to uphold conditions attached to an 18 year old World Bank loan. In 1982 the Brazilian government and its mining company, CVRD, received over US$900 million from the World Bank and European Union to develop the iron ore deposits in the Carajas mountains. One condition of the Bank loan was that all Indian territories within the sphere of the Carajas project would be officially recognised and demarcated by the Brazilian government. Survival comments that “nearly two decades on, and despite the availability of this money, the Awa indigenous group in Maranhco state are still waiting for their land rights to be recognised. The demarcation has been blocked largely by politicians and businessmen, some of whom have large landholdings on Awa land”. The delay has led to land invasions and fatal attacks on Awa groups.

Survival points out that “the Brazilian government, CVRD and the World Bank are guilty of violating both the Brazilian constitution and the World Bank’s operational directive on indigenous peoples by ignoring the Awa’s land rights”. Survival is calling for the immediate recognition and protection of their land which is the only hope for the survival of Brazil’s last nomadic people.

Write to:

James D. Wolfensohn, President, The World Bank, 1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433, USA, FAX: +1 202 522 3031