PARIS (AP) — Environmental groups and representatives of Brazil’s indigenous community demonstrate Thursday outside the main Paris courthouse, demanding a speedy trial for a French supermarket chain accused of selling beef linked to deforestation and corruption. land grabbing in the Amazon rainforest.
Several prominent indigenous representatives are in Paris and Brussels this month to speak out against international threats to their territories and draw public attention to cattle ranching practices in the Amazon.
Climate groups and indigenous activists filed a lawsuit last year against the French group Casino, which owns supermarkets around the world, accusing it of violating human rights and environmental rules. The company said it is “actively fighting deforestation linked to cattle ranching in Brazil and Colombia.” A hearing is scheduled for Thursday to set a trial date.
For the indigenous movement, the lawsuit against the Casino group is an attempt to hold someone accountable for the purchase of cattle which they believe are raised illegally in their territory, with the activists warning that the far-right government policies of the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro further threaten indigenous lands.
Since taking office in 2019, Bolsonaro has repeatedly said indigenous peoples have too much land, saying he would review demarcations even though such a move is prohibited by law.
Cattle ranching is a major driver of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, with levels reaching record highs earlier this year. More than 1,000 square kilometers (nearly 400 square miles) were deforested in April this year, according to satellite alerts. The biome contains about 57 million hectares (140.8 million acres) of pasture, an area slightly larger than France, according to MapBiomas, a network of nonprofits, universities and tech startups. .
Fabiano Maisonnave in Rio de Janeiro contributed to this.
The Associated Press’s climate and environmental coverage receives support from several private foundations. Learn more about AP’s climate initiative here. The AP is solely responsible for all content.