South and Meso American Indian Rights Center

Urgent Action

February 4, 1998

Exmo. Sr. Fernando Henrique Cardosa
President of the Federal Republic of Brazil Palacio do Planalto

Dear President Cardosa,

We at SAIIC, the South and Meso American Indian Rights Center, are writing to you in an expression of great concern over your agreement to veto certain key points of the Environmental Crimes Act, PL 1.164. This legislation is critical to strengthening necessary measures against environmental destruction in Brazil, and we feel that it's effectiveness must not be diluted.

The passage of PL 1.164 on January 28th authorized environmental agencies in Brazil to enforce important areas of environmental law for the first time since 1989, and is critical to preserving Brazil's environment, the quality of life enjoyed by Brazil's population, and also that of the rest of the world who will be affected by the degree to which Brazil protects its environment.

Among the critical points of PL 1.164 that must be preserved are Article 5, which would allow lawbreakers to be held accountable for environmental damage regardless of proof of intent to pollute; Article 43, which would make it a felony to use fire in forests without taking measures to prevent its spread; and Article 47, which would make it a crime to export flora, germplasm, or plant products without official license.

The removal of these and at least four other key points will seriously undermine the effectiveness of this legislation that is so crucial to the future of the greatest remaining tropical rainforest in the world. We at SAIIC respectfully urge you to approve the Environmental Crimes Act without veto, and show that your government is committed to the larger interests of Brazil and the planet.

Sincerely,

Laura Soriano
Executive Director, SAIIC

Teishan Latner, SAIIC

c.c International Environmental and Human Rights Orgs.

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