People power succeeds in delaying vote that would put future of the Amazon in jeopardy


SÃO PAULO, Brazil — Pressure from companies, MPs, celebrities, NGOs and the public has succeeded in preventing the Brazilian Congress from voting on a law that has the potential to strike a fatal blow to the Amazon rainforest.

Voting on Bill PL-2633/2020 was scheduled for 13:55 Brasilia time (17:55 BST) yesterday (20.05.2020) but was taken out of the agenda at the last minute. For the second time in two weeks, people power forced a delay. [1]

The Bill has caused outrage across the globe prompting 40 companies and investors to sign an open letter urging the Brazilian Congress to reject the Bill, and cross party Parliamentarians from the UK, Germany and Italy to do the same due to rising concerns over the grave threat the Bill would cause to the Amazon, its people, wildlife and the climate. [2]

“It’s surreal that, despite Brazil’s people confronting devastating rates of COVID-19, the Brazilian Congress is attempting to pass a law to reward criminals and put millions of hectares of public land in the Amazon at risk,” said Daniela Montalto, Greenpeace forests campaigner. 

“What Bolsonaro and his administration seem not to have grasped is that if this law is passed it will be very difficult for international markets to buy any product from Brazil and claim they are not condoning the destruction of the Amazon and the spilling of Indigenous blood.”

“Public pressure has stopped these plans for now, but the Amazon forest, its people and the whole planet remains at risk as forest destroyers and land grabbers are empowered to operate with impunity.”

The Brazilian Public Ministry, an independent watchdog of the Brazilian legal system, also vocally opposed the law, concluding that it would favor criminal organizations involved in illegal deforestation and armed conflicts. [3]

The proposed law would benefit criminals by giving them legal rights to land grabbed upto 2018, as well as incentivising them to steal more land and destroy more precious rainforest in future. This would put millions of hectares of public land and precious rainforest in the Amazon at risk. [4]

Scientists recently gave their gravest warning yet that the Amazon is nearing tipping point. Unless the current catastrophic rates of deforestation are halted and reversed, they predict that in less than 20 years’ time the forest will no longer be able to generate enough rain to sustain itself. [5] This would threaten the very existence of some Indigenous groups already being made vulnerable to Covid-19 as invaders enter their territories. It would also wipe out millions of wildlife species – some as yet undiscovered – and put the entire planet at even greater risk of climate breakdown.

Loggers, farmers and ranchers have already taken Bolsonaro’s message as a license to steal and clear land — and deforestation is again out of control. In the first four months of 2020, there was a 55 per cent increase in deforestation compared with the same period in 2019. [6]



[1] New agenda for today’s Brazil Congress session without PL 2633/2020:

Previous agenda with reference on page 4 to PL 2633/2020:

The law was originally introduced in December 2019 as Provisional Measure 910/2019 (MP 910). The Bill as proposed on 14 May can be found here:

[2] In an open letter to Brazilian Deputies and Senators, 40+ companies including Burger King, Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s wrote:

“Should the measure pass, it would encourage further land grabbing and widespread deforestation which would jeopardise the survival of the Amazon and meeting the targets of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and undermine the rights of indigenous and traditional communities. We believe that it would also put at risk the ability of organisations such as ours to continue sourcing from Brazil in the future.”

Reference to letter from cross party UK MPs:

Letter to the President of the Brazilian Deputies Chamber, Rodrigo Maia from parlamentarias from Germany and Italy at

[3] Public prosecutors made public that the discussion of measures like this — those with expected environmental and social impacts — would open a precedent for similar discussions during the pandemic.

Celebrities including Caetano Veloso, speak up against the voting of PL 2633/20:

[4] According to Imazon’s estimation, if passed the proposal would privatise 19.6 million hectares of federal, public land and open the door for the clearing of up to 16,000 km2 (1.6m ha) of Amazon forests in the next seven years (2027).

Amazon states hold an additional 36 million hectares of non-designated public state land (

[5] Guardian: Amazon rainforest ‘close to irreversible tipping point’

[6] Unearthed: Amazonian deforestation soaring while Bolsonaro administration weakens safeguards

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