Bishops for Amazon

Published: Saturday 31 March 2007

Brazil's Catholic bishops have condemned the government for its failure to address deforestation in the Amazon. The government was "absent" in combating "predatory development" in the world's largest rainforests, notes a media statement issued by the Brazilian National Bishops' Council.

Concerned over the increasing soybean farming in the region, the bishops conducted a debate in the last week of February during their annual fraternity campaign. The campaign is a "call for state and society to stop financing and tolerating a predatory model of development", said the council. During the three-day campaign, the bishops also criticised the government's recent plans which allow large-scale monitored harvesting of the Amazon rainforest and called on the government to control farmland expansion.

Separately, a bishop from Bahia state, Dom Luiz Flavio Cappio, who staged an 11-day hunger strike in 2005 over the government's controversial plans to change the course of the river Sao Francisco, handed a letter to the president calling for a public debate on the irrigation project.

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