PERMANENT PEOPLES’ TRIBUNAL
SESSION IN DEFENSE OF THE CERRADO TERRITORIES
Thematic hearing on water
November 30 – December 1, 2021
8:30 am -12:30 pm, Brasilia time – 12:30-4:30 pm CET
Statement by the PPT panel of judges
December 10, 2021
2:00-3:00 pm, Brasilia time – 6:00-7:00 pm CET
On September 10th, 2021, the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal opened its 49th session dedicated to the territories of Cerrado and to the populations that inhabit it. During the inaugural session, the National Campaign in Defense of the Cerrado, which includes 50 social movements and organizations in Brazil, publicly presented the indictment to the panel of judges of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal. In it, the Brazilian State, foreign States, international organizations, and transnational companies are indicated as responsible for the ecocide and cultural genocide of the peoples of Cerrado [access the summary, the full video of the opening event, and the summary video).
The Session of the Tribunal will be divided into three thematic hearings: on water (30/11-01/12/2021), on food sovereignty and socio-biodiversity (15-16/03/2022), and on land and territory (07-08-09/06/2022). During the PPT session, 15 cases will be presented involving territories, peasant communities and indigenous peoples of the States of Bahía, Goiás, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Piauí and Tocantins (access the case map). The collection of evidence and documentation is the result of an extensive listening and analysis process that involved the communities and organizations that make up the Campaign.
The hearing on water that is about to take place will examine the methods of appropriation and exploitation of water resources (rivers and aquifers of Cerrado) and their contamination. During the proceedings, it will be possible to hear the testimonies of the communities and experts on six cases considered as emblematic of a trend of expropriation and exploitation. This trend has its roots in the policies promoted since the time of the Brazilian dictatorship which, in recent years, have accelerated the process of environmental, territorial, and social reconfiguration of Cerrado. The six cases are intended to highlight the link between the appropriation of resources and “water injustice”, in support of the crimes reported in the indictment. They concern the traditional territories of Fecho de Pasto, the indigenous peoples of Krahô-Takaywrá and Krahô Kanela, the communities of the North of Minas Gerais, the communities of Cachoeira do Choro and Macaúba and the traditional territories of Geraizeiro do Vale das Cancelas, affected by activities of soybean and mining companies.
The PPT panel of judges will release its statement on December 10th, 2021. It is composed of: Antoni Pigrau Solé, professor of international law at the Rovira i Virgili University of Tarragona, Spain; Deborah Duprat, jurist and former Deputy Attorney General of the Republic of Brazil; Mons. José Valdeci of the Diocese of Brejo, Brazil; Eliane Brum, Brazilian journalist; Enrique Leff, Mexican economist and environmental sociologist; Rosa Acevedo Marín, Venezuelan sociologist and lecturer at the Federal University of Pará; Silvia Ribeiro, Uruguayan journalist and researcher of the ETC Group; Sônia Guajajara, indigenous leader and executive coordinator of APIB (Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil); Teresa Almeida Cravo, Portuguese professor of international relations at the University of Coimbra. Also on the panel of judges is Philippe Texier, French jurist and current president of the PPT.
The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal (PPT) is an international opinion tribunal that is competent to judge any type of crime committed causing injury to peoples and minorities. It was established in Bologna in 1979 thanks to the intuition of jurist and politician Lelio Basso, on the basis of the framework defined in the Universal Declaration of the Rights of People (1976). Established as a direct continuation of the Russel Tribunals on Vietnam (1966-67) and Latin America (1973-76), it was then transformed into a permanent institution, able to give a voice and visibility to those people facing a lack of their rights, and impunity. The Tribunal is built around a network of 70 internationally recognized experts and actors, who are then appointed for the PPT panel of judges for each session. Through its 48 sessions and judgments, the Tribunal has given visibility to several cases of serious human rights violations, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide. It has recently expanded the scope of its competence to include economic, ecological, and systemic crimes.
The Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal is based in Rome, at the Fondazione Lelio e Lisli Basso, Via della Dogana Vecchia 5.