Brazil: Indigenous Ka’apor people denounce abuses by carbon traders

A group of Indigenous people with protest banners in front of a hut thatched with palm fronds Ka’apor protest against carbon traders in their territory. Inscription on the banner: Wildlife Works out of Ka’apor territory! The carbon market is a false environmental solution! (© TUXA TA PAME)

Feb 20, 2024

The Ka’apor people are calling on Brazilian federal prosecutors to evict the US company Wildlife Works from their rainforest in the state of Maranhão. For months, the Indigenous people have complained that the company’s activities in their protected area are unwelcome and a source of conflict. They demand that all carbon trading companies cease activities on their ancestral territory.

The Ka’apor people continue to face harassment from Wildlife Works, a US company that wants to set up a project to sell carbon credits in Ka’apor territory in the rainforest of the Brazilian state of Maranhão. Companies that emit carbon will be able to buy Wildlife Works’ certificates and thus present themselves as climate protectors.

Our partners in Tuxa Ta Pame, the Ka’apor Council, reject profiteering with carbon credits and demand that the company stop its activities on their land immediately. They explain that they protect the rainforest with their way of life – without money – and will not tolerate companies on their land that trade in carbon credits.

According to the Ka’apor, company representatives were active in one of the Indigenous villages on February 7, 2024, ostensibly as part of a “free, prior and informed consent” (FPIC) process. This is required by International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 169 whenever activities or an administrative act have an impact on traditional peoples or communities.

However, such a consultation process must respect the customs and forms of organization of peoples and communities and must be carried out by public authorities – not, as in this case, by a private company. Wildlife Works’ activities in the Ka’apor area thus violate the rights of the Indigenous population and are stoking serious internal conflict among the Indigenous people.

The day after this latest intrusion, the Ka’apor Council sent a complaint to the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, demanding that action be taken to immediately evict the company from the rainforest. Previously, on January 31, 2024, the Ka’apor had sent a letter to the executive director of Wildlife Works in Brazil, demanding the immediate withdrawal and cessation of activities in the Alto Turiaçu territory.

For months, the Indigenous people have complained that the company’s activities in their protected area are unwelcome are a source of conflict. They are calling on all carbon traders to immediately cease all activities on their land (see Brazil: US carbon traders stoke conflict among Indigenous Ka’apor).

TI Alto Turiaçu of the Ka’apor

The 531,000-hectare federally recognized and demarcated protected area TI Alto Turiaçu of the Ka’apor is one of the last remaining primeval forests on the eastern edge of the Amazon. With their traditional way of life in harmony with nature, the Ka’apor have preserved the area and its immense biodiversity and are actively defending it against deforestation and invaders.

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