Land and basic services are ‘your rights, not favours’: UN deputy-chief
07 August 2023
Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed, during a visit to the Amazon last week, reiterated the United Nations's support to Brazil’s indigenous peoples, and helping amplify their voices far and wide towards the full realizations of their rights.
Ms. Mohammed last Friday wrapped up a week of development-focused meetings with Government officials in the vast South American country with a stop in Belém, capital of the northern state of Pará, gateway to Brazil’s lower Amazon region.
During roundtable discussions about the future of the Amazon region with representatives of civil society and the private sector, the UN deputy chief exchanged views on the region’s plurality and how to integrate voices from Amazonians in global climate governance.
In a meeting on Brazil's efforts towards zero deforestation with environment and climate Minister Marina Silva, the Deputy Secretary-General stressed that safeguarding the Amazon and conserving its biodiversity is necessary for the region and the world.
“We agree: the world needs bold leadership and more solidarity to stop the war on nature,” Ms. Mohammed said on Twitter.
These meetings came one day after the Deputy Secretary-General engaged in Belém with a diverse group of Amazonian youth representatives and quilombolas – inhabitants of historical settlements of people of African origin who resisted slavery.
‘The United Nations will carry your voice’
While in Pará, Ms. Mohammed visited indigenous land in Munduruku and spent time with the Mapuera indigenous tribe.
“I am here to hear you, to see you, to feel you, for those things that you asked for, and those things that are your rights,” she told members of the community.
She added, “I am visiting Brazil, but to visit Brazil without visiting the Amazon, is to not visit Brazil.”
Ms. Mohammed noted that she had heard what people had told her during the visit and that she would “take that voice to Brasília, to Belém, to New York, to the world.”
“You asked for transport, you asked for technology, you asked for land, you asked for basic services. These are not a favor, these are your rights,” said the Deputy-Secretary-General.
“And so, the United Nations will carry your voice, will amplify what we hear, what we see, and we stand by you, with those who are working in Brazil, who are working in Santarém, who are working in Belém, so that one day we will actualize those rights,” she stated.
On the first two days of her trip to the country, the Deputy Secretary-General and her delegation had several meetings with the federal Government in Brasilia.
She commended the Government’s efforts to strengthen the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and discussed the importance of raising ambition at the global stage for the 2030 Agenda, climate action, and reforming of the international financial system.