Belo Monte :
Chief Raoni's petition

Now 502905 signatures.


To François Hollande : "Mr President, please don't let French companies be part of the ecological disasters and indigenous ethnocides now happening in Amazonia"

To François Hollande :

Gert-Peter Bruch & Ildomar Dos Santos from the Planète Amazone association meet french Président François Hollande at the Rio+20 world summit © John Van Hasselt

Signed by Chief Raoni and other Kayapo leaders, a call from French NGO Planète Amazone has recently been given by hand, at the Rio +20 world summit, to the French President, François Hollande.

The delegation of the French NGO, Planète Amazone, met President François Hollande at the French Pavilion of the Rio+20 Athletes' Park on Wednesday, June 20th 2012. The call was handed to him personally and invited the President to make a commitment that France and its concerns will no longer collaborate on industrial projects which would jeopardize Environmental and Human Rights, as in the case of Brazil with regard to the Belo Monte and Jirau dams (being built with the help of french companies Alstom and GDF-Suez). The document given to the President bore the signatures of Chief Raoni and the major representatives of the Kayapo people.


Call to the President of the French Republic

Mr President,

President of all the French people, you are indeed the President of a country that shares, thanks to the Overseas department of Guiana, 730 km of frontier with Brazil and on 96% of this territory lies a substantial part of the Amazon Rainforest. We are talking about the biggest rainforest in the world, and about a unique and fragile ecosystem, vital to the functioning of all natural systems. This ecosystem is now in jeopardy. Its complete disappearance, foreseen around 2050 by most studies, will occur if the current rhythm of deforestation goes on; it would have dramatic and irreversible consequences for the planet and therefore for humankind as a whole. The unbridled exploitation of rainforests is carried out irresponsibly: land is either barely reforested or not at all, and a biodiversity which has still yet to be studied disappears forever. Also, the industrial projects responsible for this deforestation infringe upon the rights of the autochtonous populations, who are bound to undergo an ethnocide and vanish. Past history is repeating itself with an almost complete indifference.

We, the signatories of the petition against the Belo Monte dam, launched by Chief Raoni, and managed by our French association -Planète Amazone- which has gathered more than 350,000 signatures so far, (among which are those of Christiane Taubira, Nicolas Hulot and Eva Joly, along with 200,000 other French signatories), wish to tell you that we are deeply concerned and anxious about the irresponsibility displayed by the states concerned, as the outcome will affect every citizen on the planet. Today, we take the initiative in respectfully urging you to take action to change this situation.

Having won the French presidential elections and in the wake of the Rio+20 UN Summit on Sustainable Development, we would like a solemn commitment from you to prevent French firms, and all the more if the State is a shareholder, from violating Convention n° 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) with regard to indigenous peoples, or to be party to this by collaborating with States officially exposed by the ILO.

Such is the case for Brazil, required by the ILO in March 2012 to "take the necessary steps to consult the autochtonous peoples involved in the construction of the Belo Monte hydroelectric plant, which may have irreversible effects (articles 6 and 15 of the convention); Brazil should also have "conveyed the information on the results of the ongoing proceedings before the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights and before the federal court of Para". The construction of the dam was judged illegal by both bodies.

Brazil has promised to apply these principles from now on but refuses to reconsider the proceedings and decisions made regarding the Belo Monte and Jirau sites, both located in Brazilian Amazon.

The Brazilian consortium, Norte Energia, is coordinating the construction of the Belo Monte dam, which will be the third biggest dam in the world. Alstom, a French concern, will supply equipment for the hydroelectric complex as part of a 500-million contract with Norte Energia.

The French firm Alstom is the world's leading builder of big dams. The French state detained up to 20% of its capital when shares were bought back by Bouygues in 2006.

Meanwhile, GDF Suez owns 50.1% of the shares on the Jirau dam and is today the first private electricity supplier in Brazil, with 21 power plants, including 13 hydroelectric ones. Jirau is the second most important ongoing hydroelectric programme in the Americas, after Belo Monte. The French state owns 36% of shares from GDF-SUEZ, nominated at the 2010 "Public Eye Awards" as the most irresponsible firm in environmental matters for the part it is playing in the construction of the Jirau dam.

Finally, another French firm interested in investments in Brazil, EDF, with 85% of its shares owned by the state, has declared that it is currently carrying out studies on the construction of hydroelectric dams in Brazil.

The French concerns involved in these disparaged industrial projects do not obey their own code of ethics, collaborating with Brazil, complicit in abuses exposed by the highest international institutions. Thus, the position taken by France is not only completely inconsistent with its commitments at the Johannesburg Earth Summit, but also with the guidelines approved by the World Commission on Dams.

Therefore, Mr President, we, the French citizens and signatories of the petition launched by Chief Raoni, would like you to make a commitment that France and its concerns will no longer collaborate on industrial projects which would jeopardize Environmental and Human Rights.

We are hoping, Mr President, that you will find this suggestion helpful.

Yours respectfully.

The Planète Amazone Association




- translation by Nadia Kadry with a help from Lizzie Cornish -

Date : 27/07/2012