The Brazilian political party Partido Socialismo e Liberdade (PSOL) will today (June 5th) submit a new Ecocide Bill to the Brazilian Congress. The proposed ecocide law seeks to criminalise “performing illegal or wanton acts with the knowledge that they generate a substantial probability of serious and widespread or long-term damage to the environment.”
The wording of the bill strongly reflects the international definition of ecocide released by the Independent Expert Panel convened by the Stop Ecocide Foundation (June 2021). Proposals elsewhere, for example in the EU, have followed a similar model.
According to Paulo Busse, one of the lawyers who helped to draft the Ecocide Bill:
“This Ecocide Bill was designed to offer much greater protection to the Amazon and other biomes in Brazil, which are under constant threat. In doing so, the law would offer much-needed support to the indigenous and traditional communities who rely on the natural environment for their way of life and who serve as its guardians.”
The development and promotion of a national law of ecocide in Brazil has been a collaborative project between PSOL, Ecoe Brasil, Observatório do Clima, Stop Ecocide International, International Rivers, Climate Counsel, and many others.
Rodrigo Lledó, Americas Stop Ecocide Director and also a member of the Independent Expert Panel for the legal Definition of Ecocide has said:
“This bill is the first of its kind in Latin America to formally enter a national legislative chamber. Similar bills are being prepared in Argentina, Chile and other countries of the continent. This is important because, in order to adequately protect the environment, ecocide must become not only an international crime but also a crime under national legislation.”
Richard J Rogers, Climate Counsel’s Executive Director adds:
“Ecocide laws have the potential to prevent the worst cases of environmental destruction and help tackle the climate crisis. By submitting the Ecocide Bill, Brazil’s PSOL has shown that it is on the side of future generations. Brazil’s Government and Congress should now get on board.”
Jojo Mehta, Stop Ecocide International’s Co-founder and Executive Director praised the milestone, saying:
“The proposal of this bill in Brazil is timely and important, and will reinforce the growing global movement towards recognition of ecocide at the international level.“
“The Amazon is one of the most important and endangered biomes on the planet with respect to biodiversity as well as the water, weather and climate systems of the Earth. This law will provide much needed protection. It will also strongly support the rights of indigenous communities to continue to live and practice harmonious relationship with and guardianship of the forest, from which we have much to learn.”