By OLEG CETINIC, Associated Press

PARIS (AP) — Decrying the “predation” of his homeland, a Brazilian Indigenous leader is appealing to France’s president to use his global sway to fight the deforestation of the Amazon.

Ninawa, a leader of the Huni Kui people who uses just one name, delivered a letter on Saturday to the office of French President Emmanuel Macron. He urged the French leader to lean on the whole 27-nation European Union to limit trade linked to deforestation. His appeal also called for pressure on Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to halt logging, farming and development projects that are destroying the Amazon rainforest.

In the letter, seen by The Associated Press, Ninawa says: “The current (Brazilian) administration is working to authorize or amnesty the extraction and export of timber, as forest fires devastate flora and fauna, to create fields for monocultures of soybeans and for raising cattle.

“This same administration works to legalize and institutionalize the invasion of the territories of the original peoples, considered as an obstacle to agribusiness and to what is wrongly called ‘development,’” it says.

 

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Ninawa left his letter with a police officer at the presidential Elysee Palace in Paris and got a receipt in return. There was no immediate word from Macron’s office on whether the letter would be given to the French president himself.

Speaking to the AP, Ninawa said Indigenous people are “every single day putting our lives at risk so that we can defend nature for all humankind. So it is important that each country, each citizen from each country, do their share and also become guardians of Mother Nature.”

Bolsonaro has recently tried to improve his environmental credibility, but for most of his presidency has encouraged development within the Amazon region He has dismissed global complaints about its destruction as a plot to hold back the nation’s agribusiness. His administration also has weakened environmental authorities and backed legislative measures to loosen land protections, emboldening land grabbers.