Download the PDF version of the letter here.

German version of the letter (PDF) – French version of the letter – Spanish version – Portuguese version

” Dear President of the European Council, President of the European Commission, President of the European Parliament,

We, the undersigned civil society organizations, are writing to call on the European Union to use its influence to prevent a worsening human rights and environmental situation in Brazil.

In April, more than 600 European scientists and two Brazilian Indigenous organizations, representing 300 Brazilian Indigenous groups, called for the EU to act as a global leader in supporting human rights, human dignity and a habitable climate by making sustainability the cornerstone of its trade negotiations with Brazil. We fully support this call.

Bound by the Treaty of the European Union, the EU and its Member States vowed to respect and promote human rights as an overarching objective in its dealings with other countries. Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has also clearly stated the need for new EU trade agreements to deliver sustainable development.

Since the inauguration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro in January 2019, we have witnessed increased human rights violations, attacks on minorities, indigenous peoples, LGBTQ and other traditional communities. Moreover, the administration continues to threaten the basic democratic functioning of civil society while instigating a fundamental assault on some of the world’s most precious and ecologically valuable regions.

We are deeply concerned about the following:

  • Indigenous lands demarcation has been put under the jurisdiction of the Agriculture Ministry, paving the way for powerful cattle and soy agribusinesses to accelerate their sweep through the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical forest and the Cerrado, the world’s most biodiverse savannah. Though this controversial measure appears to have been temporarily reversed in May by the Brazilian Senate, President Bolsonaro may still veto it.
  • There has been a dramatic increase in attacks on Indigenous people, other traditional communities and their territories. In February, at least 14 protected Indigenous territories were reported to be under attack from invaders. In addition, the government abolished more than 35 national councils of social participation. Attacks on people defending their territories or natural resources are on the rise in rural Brazil, resulting in increasing deaths of community leaders, peasants and activists.
  • Bolsonaro’s campaign promise of “ending any form of activism” was implemented on his first day in office, empowering the government to “supervise, coordinate, monitor and observe the activities and actions of international agencies and non-governmental organisations within national territory.”
  • Both the Environment Ministry and the Foreign Affairs Ministry are now led by deniers of global warming, leading to the abolishment of departments responsible for climate change. Even as Brazil remains a signatory to the Paris Agreement on climate change, it is becoming unlikely that the administration will take the necessary measures to implement the agreement.
  • Socio-environmental legislation and policies have been dramatically weakened during the first 100 days of the new government. The Forest Code has been undermined with new measures proposing the reduction of legal reserves and a more flexible deadline for land regularization by landgrabbers. In January 2019, deforestation in the Amazon reportedly rose by 54 percent compared to the same period in 2018.

Civil society actors, activists, peasants, workers and minorities face extreme dangers from the incendiary rhetoric of the Bolsonaro government and its supporters. This includes his labeling of members of grassroots movements like the Landless Workers Movement and the Movement of Homeless as “terrorists,” generating concerns that Brazil’s controversial anti-terrorist law will be used to criminalize social activists.

The EU is Brazil’s second-largest trading partner overall, second-largest importer of Brazilian soy and a major importer of Brazilian beef and other agricultural products. The EU, therefore, has a responsibility to address human rights and environmental injustices taking place in Brazil under the Bolsonaro government. It must use its leverage to support civil society, human rights and the environment.

The EU is in the midst of negotiating a far-reaching Mercosur trade deal that seeks to expand market access and trade between the two regions, including Brazil. It is imperative that the EU sends an unequivocal message to President Bolsonaro that the EU will refuse to negotiate a trade deal with Brazil until there is an end to human rights violations, strict measures to end further deforestation and concrete commitments to implement the Paris Agreement.

In the past, the EU has suspended trade preferences with countries involved in human rights violations, such as Myanmar and the Philippines. In addition, the EU has restricted imports of products whose production is related to human rights in the case of conflict minerals. It is time that the EU takes a similar, tough stance to prevent a deterioration of the human rights and environmental situation in Brazil.

We therefore call on you to:

  1. Immediately halt negotiations for an EU-Mercosur free trade agreement.
  2. Guarantee that no Brazilian products sold in the EU, nor the financial markets underpinning them, are leading to increases in deforestation, land grabbing of native lands or human rights violations.
  3. Demand confirmation, with material evidence, that the Brazilian government will fulfill its commitments as part of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
  4. Increase support for Brazilian civil society, including strengthening the implementation of the EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy and proactive consultations with Brazilian civil society organisations that address human rights and the democratic functioning of Brazilian civil society.
  5. Monitor and respond to human rights violations—including investigating cases since Bolsonaro’s election—and strengthen mechanisms to protect human rights defenders. For those most at risk, including Indigenous peoples and environmental defenders, the EU should provide direct and urgent support where required, including through political representations.


ALBA Movimientos International
FIAN International International
foodwatch international International
GRAIN International
Greenpeace International
ISP Interamericas International
OMCT – World Organisation Against Torture International
Plataforma América Latina mejor sin TLC International
Alianza Biodiversidad International
PSI Public Service International Américas International
CIDSE – International family of Catholic social justice organisations Europe
Climate Alliance Europe
Corporate Europe Observatory Europe
ACT Alliance EU Europe
EU-LAT Network Europe
European Coordination Via Campesina Europe
European Environmental Bureau Europe
Fern Europe
Food & Water Europe Europe
Friends of the Earth Europe Europe
Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) Europe Europe
S2B network Europe
Slow Food Europe Europe
Acción por la Biodiversidad Argentina
Amigos de la Tierra Argentina Argentina
AMUMRA – Asociación Civil de Derechos Humanos Mujeres Unidas Migrantes y Refugiadas en Argentina Argentina
Asamblea Argentina mejor sin TLC Argentina
ATTAC Argentina Argentina
COMUNA (Colectiva en Movimiento por una Universidad Nuestramericana) en el FPDS-CN Argentina
Diálogo 2000 – Jubileo Sur Argentina Argentina
Frente Patria Grande Argentina
Frente Popular Dario Santillan Argentina
Fundación Grupo Efecto Positivo Argentina
INPADE / FOCO Argentina
Missionaries of Francisco Movement Argentina
Resumen Latinoamericano Argentina
Vamos- Frente Patria Grande Argentina
Anders Handeln Austria
Attac Austria Austria
Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour/AK Europa Austria
Climate Alliance Austria Austria
Coordination office of the Austrian episcopal conference for international development and mission (KOO) Austria
DKA Austria Austria
globalista Austria
Grüne Bildungswerkstatt NÖ Austria
Grupo Encuentro Austria Argentina – GEAA Austria
HORIZONT3000 Austria
Informationsgruppe Lateinamerika (IGLA) Austria
International Fellowship of Reconciliation Austria Austria
Jahoda -Bauer Institut Austria
NeSoVe / Network Social Responsibility Austria
ÖBV-Via Campesina Austria Austria
Parents For Future Vienna Austria
proge Union Austria
Selbstbesteuerungsgruppe Bischof Kräutler Austria
transform!at Austria
vöwg Austria
ELA Basque Country
Mugarik Gabe Basque Country
TRADENER Basque Country
Commission Justice et Paix Belgium
11.11.11 Belgium
Broederlijk Delen Belgium
CNCD-11.11.11 Belgium
Commission Justice et Paix Belgium
Entraide et Fraternité Belgium
FIAN Belgium Belgium
FIAN Belgium Belgium
Indignez-Vous Belgium
Fundación Solón Bolivia
Centar za zivotnu sredinu/ Friends of the Earth Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina
Justiça nos Trilhos Brazil
Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens – MAB Brazil
AMAU (Articulação Metropolitana de Agricultura Urbana e Periurbana) Brazil
Associação Alternativa Terrazul Brazil
Asssociação para Recuperação e Conservação do Ambiente – ARCA Brazil
Campanha Antipetroleira “Nem um poço a mais!” Brazil
Caritas Arquidiocesana de Brasília Brazil
Central Única dos Trabalhadores – CUT Brazil
Confederação Nacional dos Trabalhadores em Seguridade Social da CUT Brazil
Convívio Slow Food Parahyba Brazil
FASE – Solidariedade e Educação Brazil
Fasubra sindical Brazil
Federação das Organizações Indígenas do Rio Negro – FOIRN Brazil
Federação Nacional dos Enfermeiros Brazil
Fórum da Amazônia Oriental – FAOR Brazil
Fórum Mudanças Climáticas E Justiça Social Brazil
Friends of the Earth Brazil Brazil
Grupo semente Brazil
INESC – Instituto de Estúdios Socioeconômicos Brazil
İnstituto EQUİT – Gênero, Economia e Cidadania Global Brazil
Instituto Floresta de Pesquisa e Desenvolvimento Sustentável Brazil
Fórum Mudanças Climáticas E Justiça Social Brazil
Jubileu Sul Brasil Brazil
Justiça Global Brazil
Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra – MST Brazil
Movimento Urbano de Agroecologia – MUDA Brazil
OLMA – Observatório Nacional de Justiça Socioambiental Luciano Mendes de Almeida Brazil
Operação Amazônia Nativa Brazil
REBRİP- Rede Brasileira pela İntegração dos Povos Brazil
Rede Jubileu Sul Brazil
Slow Food Brasil Brazil
Tribunal Populr Brazil
Za Zemiata – Friends of the Earth Bulgaria Bulgaria
Comité pour les droits humains en Amérique latine – CDHAL Canada – Organitzacions per a la Justícia Global Catalunya
Plataforma Chile mejor sin TLC Chile
Coordinación social y política Marcha Patriótica Colombia
Marcha Patriotica Colombia
Proceso de Comunidades Negras Colombia
Zelena akcija / Friends of the Earth Croatia Croatia
Friends of the Earth Cyprus Cyprus
Ekumenicka akademie Czech Republic
Global Aktion Denmark
NOAH – Friends of the Earth Denmark
Verdens Skove Denmark
Oficina de Derechos de la Nauraleza Ecuador
Colectiva Feminista para el Desarrollo Local El Salvador
Fundación de e Estudios para la Aplicación del Derecho -FESPAD El Salvador
Fundación de Estudios para la Aplicación del Derecho -FESPAD- El Salvador
Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland England, Wales and Northern Ireland
Estonian Forest Aid (Eesti Metsa Abiks) Estonia
Estonian Society for Nature Conservation Estonia
Friends of the Earth Finland Finland
Friends of the Landless Finland
TTIP Network Finland Finland
ActionAid France France
Aitec France
alofa tuvalu France
AMAR Brasil France
Attac France France
Bloom France
cedetim/ipam France
collectif anti ogm 66 France
Collectif Causse Méjean – Gaz de Schiste NON ! France
Collectif Stop TAFTA / CETA France
Comité Pauvreté et Politique France
Commitee in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples of the Americas (CSIA-Nitassinan) France
Confederation paysanne France
Confédération Paysanne Tarn France
Emmaüs International France
FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights) France
France Amerique Latine France
France Nature Environnement France
LDH pays Rochefortais France
Le Lien 26 France
Les Amis de la Terre (Friends of the Earth France) France
Les Amis du Monde Diplomatique France
Les Amis du Mouvement des Sans Terre France
MNLE France
Parents For Future France France
ReAct France
Réseau européen pour la Démocratie au Brésil ( France
réseau Roosevelt France
Sherpa France
Radio Latina France
tu France
Bizi! France / Basque country
AG Recife e.V. Germany
Agrar Koordination Germany
Agrecol e.V. Germany
Andy Gheorghiu Consulting Germany
ARA e.V. Germany
Arbeitsgemeinschaft bäuerliche Landwirtschaft (AbL) Germany
Attac Germany Germany
Bischöfliches Hilfswerk MISEREOR Germany
Brasiliengruppe Tübingen Germany
Brasilieninitiative Freiburg e.V. Germany
Brasiliennetzwerk Niedersachsen Germany
Bund für Umwelt und Naturschutz Deutschland (BUND) / Friends of the Earth Germany Germany
BUND Laichingen Germany
Campact Germany
Coordination gegen BAYER-Gefahren Germany
DEAB e.V. Germany
Die AnStifter Germany
Die AnStifter Stuttgart Germany
Dona Flor e.V. Germany
Eine-Welt-Verein Pachamama Stuttgart Germany
Elternseminar Stuttgart Germany
Erich Fromm Institute Tuebingen Germany
FDCL – Center for Research and Documentation Chile-Latin America Germany
FIAN Deutschland Germany
Forum Ökologie & Papier Germany
GegenStrömung – CounterCurrent Germany Germany
German NGO Forum on Environment and Development Germany
Health and Environment Justice Support International Germany
Informationsbüro Nicaragua e.V. Germany
Initiative kikuna e.V. – Zukunft Nachhaltig Gestalten Germany
just human e.V. Germany
Kaite-ZIM e. V. Germany
Kölner Bündnis für gerechten Welthandel Germany
Kolumbienkampagne Berlin Germany
Kooperation Brasilien e.V. Germany
Lernen im Aufbruch Germany
mediation and project management agrobiodiversity Germany
mediation and project management agrobiodiversity Germany
Naturfreunde Württemberg e.V. Germany
Naturschutzbund Deutschland Germany
Netzwerk Gerechter Welthandel Germany
Parents For Future Bensheim Germany
Parents for Future Freiburg Germany
Parents for Future Stuttgart Germany
People for Future Frankfurt Germany
POEMA – Armut und Umwelt in Amazonien Germany
PowerShift e.V. Germany
Save Our Seeds Germany
Society for Threatened Peoples Germany
Stiftung Solidarische Welt – Berta Kühnle Germany
Verein für eine gerechte Welt e.V. Germany
WEED – World Economy, Ecology & Development Germany
Welthaus Fürth Germany
Weltladen Rottenburg Germany
Weltladen-Dachverband e.V. Germany
Women Engage for a Common Future Germany
Wuppertaler Aktionsbündnis gegen TTIP und andere Freihandelsfallen Germany
Energeno Germany
Parents for Future Dortmund Germany
Consumer association for quality of life- ekpizo Greece
Asociación Comunitaria para el Desarrollo ASERJUS Guatemala
Comité de Unidad Campesina Guatemala
consejo de investigaciones en desarrollo Guatemala
Servicios Jurídicos y Sociales, S.C. Guatemala
Observatorio Sociolaboral y del Diálogo Social Ecuador Ecuador
Plateforme Haïtienne de Plaidoyer pour un Développement Alternatif Haití
Clean Air Action Group Hungary
Magyar Természetvédők Szövetsége (Friends of the Earth Hungary) Hungary
My Right To Breathe India
An Claíomh Glas Ireland
forest friends ireland Ireland
Guarani-Kaiowa Solidarity Ireland Ireland
Icsa Ireland
Irish Cattle & Sheep Farmers’ Association Ireland
Latin America Solidarity Centre Ireland
Leave No Trace Ireland Ireland
Peoples Movement – Gluaiseacht an Phobail Ireland
Radio Latina Ireland
ZWAI Ireland
Stop Ceta Alliance Ireland
Fair watch Italy
Parents For Future – Turin Italy
Stop TTIP Italia Italy
ASTM (Action Solidarité Tiers Monde) Luxembourg
Bio-Lëtzebuerg asbl Luxembourg
Mouvement Ecologique Luxembourg
natur&ëmwelt a.s.b.l. Luxembourg
Nature Trust – FEE Malta Malta
Unam Mexico
Red Mexicana de Acción frente al libre Comercio Mexico
Heñói Paraguay
Federacion por la Autodeterminacion de los Pueblos Indigenas – FAPI Paraguay
Derecho Ambiente y Recursos Naturales DAR Peru
Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH) Peru
CooperAcción Peru
La Junta Peru
Movimiento Nacional de Mujeres Todas Somos Micaela Peru
Red Peruana por una Globalización con Equidad – RedGE Peru
Red Peruana por una Globalización con Equidad RedGE Peru
Federación de Trabajadores del Agua Potable del Perú – FENTAP- Peru
Institute of Global Responsibility (IGO) Poland
Associação de Combate à Precariedade – Precários Inflexíveis Portugal
Circo de Sonho Portugal
Climáximo Portugal
Corporations- Zero Tolerance Portugal
GEOTA Portugal
Glocal Faro Portugal
Glocal Faro Portugal
Mafra sem Glifosato Portugal
MAPA – Movimento de Acção Política Portugal
Palombar – Associação de Conservação da Natureza e do Património Rural Portugal
Parents For Future Portugal Portugal
plataforma algarve livre de petroleo Portugal
plataforma algarve livre de petroleo Portugal
Porto Sem OGM Portugal
Quercus, Associação Nacional de Conservação da Natureza Portugal
SOS Racismo Portugal Portugal
Teachers for Future Portugal
TROCA- Plataforma por um Comércio Internacional Justo Portugal
ZERO – Association for the Sustainability of the Earth System Portugal
Friends of the Siberian Forests Russia
Slow food Salvador Salvador
Amigas de la Tierra Spain
Amigos de la Tierra Spain
ASiA- Associació Salut i Agroecologia Spain
Attac Spain Spain
Campanya Catalunya No als TCI Spain
COAG Spain
Col.lectiu Agudells Spain
DES DE BAIX (Asociación para el debate y la Acción Ciudadana) Spain
Ecologistas en Acción Spain
Ecologistes en Acció Catalunya Spain
Economistas sin Fronteras Spain
Enginyeria Sense Fronteres Spain
Entrepueblos/Entrepobles/Entrepobos/Herriarte Spain
Iniciativa Cambio Personal Justicia Global Spain
ISCOD – Instituto Sindical de Cooperación al desarrollo de UGT Spain
Marxa Mundial de Dones-Catalunya Spain
Observatorio de Multinacionales en América Latina – Paz con Dignidad Spain
Podemos Centro Spain
SETEM Catalunya Spain
SOLdePaz.Pachakuti Spain
SUDS Spain
UGT Spain
FIAN Sweden Sweden
FIAN Sweden Sweden
Jordens Vanner Sweden
Latinamerikagrupperna // Solidaridad Suecia-América Latina (SAL) Sweden
Parents For Future Sweden Sweden
Bruno Manser Fund Switzerland
Centre for Developmet and Environment, University of Bern Switzerland
Pro Natura / Friends of the Earth Switzerland Switzerland
Solifonds Switzerland
Arisa The Netherlands
Both ENDS The Netherlands
Commons Network The Netherlands
La Chispa, digitaal platform over Latijns Amerika The Netherlands
Milieudefensie – Friends of the Earth Netherlands The Netherlands
Platform Aarde Boer Consument The Netherlands
Platform Duurzame en Solidaire Economie The Netherlands
SOMO The Netherlands
Transnational Institute The Netherlands
Vrijschrift The Netherlands
Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom dutch section The Netherlands
Banana Link United Kingdom
CORE Coalition United Kingdom
EcoNexus United Kingdom
Farms not Factories United Kingdom
Global Justice Now United Kingdom
Globalizations journal United Kingdom
Health and Trade Network United Kingdom
Health and Trade Network United Kingdom
London Mining Network United Kingdom
Parents For Future UK United Kingdom
Traidcraft Exchange United Kingdom
War on Want United Kingdom
Rethinking Value Chains United Kingdom / France
Forest Peoples Programme United Kingdom and the Netherlands
REDES-Amigos del Tierra (FoE) Uruguay Uruguay
Mighty Earth USA

Photo credit : CIFOR – Mato Grosso, Brazil / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0