Amazonian Indigenous Tribe Wins a two-decade long battle over illegal tree logging

Image Source: The Weather Channel

The indigenous community of the state of Acre of Brazil, the Amazonian Ashaninka finally won their rights over the Amazon Forests against the logging company owned by the Cameli Family of the current governor of Acre, Gladson Cameli.

The twenty-year old dispute was concluded viamediationwith a settlement including a compensation of R$ 14 million (US$ 3 million approx.)  along with an official apology from the Cameli Family.

The conflict arose in 1980’s when large scale deforestation took place in the Kampado Rio Amoniaan indigenous reserve in the western side of Acre, wiping out thousands of mahogany, cedar and other tree species to supply the European furniture industry.

The legal procedure was initiated in 1996, after the Federal Public Ministry (MPF) brought a Public Civil Action against the timber companies owned by the Cameli family, claiming the dispute as a violation of ‘Right to life’ of the indigenous people. The Ashaninkas made progress in multiple appeals courts including the Superior Court of Justice (the highest appellate court in Brazil for non-constitutional questions) until the dispute came to halt in the Federal Supreme Court in 2011 where an extrajudicial settlement was imposed on the parties.

The logging companies have been further ordered to pay R$6 million (US$1.2 million) to the Human Rights Defense Fund as compensation to cover for the damage caused to society as a whole.Additionally, the Federal Supreme Court is looking into spate criminal charges for a few defendants will deliver its decision on their conviction.

This settlement is being hailed as a landmark achievement in the annals of environmental activism and has for sure sent echoes down the ears of those who have been exploiting the environment for long.

For more information on the environmental dispute, click on the links below: