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Indigenous leaders urge businesses and banks to stop supporting deforestation

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theguardian.com

Indigenous leaders from the Amazon have implored major western brands and banks to stop supporting the ongoing destruction of the vital rainforest through mining, oil drilling and logging, warning that the ecosystem is on the brink of a disastrous collapse.Representatives of Indigenous peoples from across the Amazon region have descended upon New York this week to press governments and businesses, gathered in the city for climate and United Nations gatherings, to stem the flow of finance to activities that are polluting and deforesting large areas of the rainforest.A new report by the Association of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples (APIB) alleges that brands such as Apple, Microsoft and Tesla all have products that may be tainted by gold illegally mined in Amazon Indigenous territories.These companies are supplied by two refineries – Chimet and Marsam – that are under investigation by Brazilian authorities for their ties to illegal mining.

The total area occupied by illegal mining in the Amazon has increased drastically in the past decade, according to the APIB report, growing 495% to 2,409 hectares in 2021.Illegal gold mining has soared in Brazil since the election of President Jair Bolsonaro, whose allies are currently attempting to push a bill through the country’s congress that would allow mineral extraction in Indigenous lands.

The mining is blamed for mercury poisoning of water, deforestation and conflicts with local Indigenous people.“We are witnessing the destruction of ecosystems and entire communities, and people are dying as a result of this deadly industry,” said Dinamam Tuxá, a leader of the Tuxá people from Bahia state in Brazil’s north-east and executive coordinator of APIB. “Our lives are under threat, mainly

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