Religious leaders send open letter to presidential candidates

The letter was sent to all the candidates for the Presidency of the Republic and the best-placed candidates for state governments.

The Interfaith Rainforest Initiative - IRI Brazil, together with national religious entities from various spiritual traditions and social organizations that work in the field of faith, sent an Open Letter to the presidential candidates yesterday (14/09), and today to the candidates for state governments in the Legal Amazon, asking them to commit to two concrete proposals for the preservation of the Amazon rainforest:

1) Resumption and updating of the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Amazon;

2) The creation of a National Strategy for the Sustainable Development of the Amazon, with the forest's bioeconomy, education, scientific development, valuing traditional knowledge and cultures and encouraging entrepreneurship as its main axes, as proposed by the Amazon Scientific Panel and other existing initiatives.

The letter also asks the candidates to make a public commitment to stop the process of destroying the Amazon rainforest and violating the rights of indigenous peoples, quilombolas, family farmers and local communities. It also calls for the region to develop sustainably.

In the document, the religious leaders stressed that "We cannot accept that the destruction of the forest and all that it represents for us should be treated with indifference by the people who intend to govern this vast territory of fundamental importance for planet Earth and for all of humanity.".

In another section, the Open Letter emphasizes how much we need to change the scenario of human rights violations in the region. "Contrary to those who say that deforestation is necessary to develop the region, the loss of the forest has been accompanied by suffering, pain, misery and hopelessness for the majority of the population. Devastation goes hand in hand with an increase in violence, crime and human rights violations, especially against indigenous peoples and local communities. The top 20 municipalities for deforestation from 2019 to 2021 are also the champions of poverty, inequality and low social progress."

The document was also sent to the candidates for the governments of the states in the Legal Amazon who were best placed in the latest electoral polls. In the coming days, the letter will also be sent to the candidates running for seats in the Senate and the Federal Chamber from the states of the Legal Amazon.

On Saturday 10th, IRI Brazil held an interfaith meeting in São Paulo at the FMU auditorium, where leaders and representatives of socio-environmental organizations signed an Open Letter. The event highlighted the importance of the ecological values present in all religious traditions and presented the Open Letter. The meeting was also attended by climatologist Dr. Carlos Nobre, a world reference in the study of climate change in the Amazon context, indigenous leaders such as the Legal Advisor of the Indigenous Council of Roraima Dr. Ivo Macuxi and the poet and indigenous activist Márcia Kambeba. Event link:

Below is the full list of organizations that have signed the Charter: Brazilian Evangelical Christian Alliance (ACEB), Israeli Confederation of Brazil (CONIB), National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB), National Council of Christian Churches of Brazil (CONIC), Religions for Peace Brazil, National Islamic Union (UNI), Brazilian Spiritist Federation (FEB), Nangetu Institute of Afro Tradition, Social Development Interreligious Committee of the state of Pará, Frente Inter-religiosa Dom Paulo Evaristo Arns, Casa Galiléia, Coalizão Evangélicos pelo Clima, Instituto Clima e Sociedade (ICS), Instituto de Estudos da Religião (ISER), Instituto Vladimir Herzog, Movimento pela Ética Animal Espírita (MOVE), Nós na Criação, Perifa Sustentável, Rede Cristã de Advocacia Popular (RECAP), Renovar nosso Mundo, Rede Eclesial Pan-Amazônica (REPAM), TEARFUND and Visão Mundial.