William & Mary Environmental Law and Policy Review


The Global South has been historically marginalized and continues to suffer from systemic oppression, impeding the realization of their human rights. Afro-descendants and other minority populations in the Global South live in disproportionately environmentally unsafe conditions and are disproportionately more vulnerable to climate change and environmental harm. One of those populations are Quilombolas. Quilombolas are Brazilian Afro-descendant communities who continue to fight to protect their community rights to ancestral lands, natural resources, and survival as a people. The Brazilian government under former Brazilian President Bolsonaro engaged in a persistent and systematic campaign to target, attack, and kill defenders, including Quilombola defenders, who sought to protect the environment and human rights. His government engaged in the systematic deforestation and extraction of natural resources in the Amazon. It is up to Brazil’s re-elected President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and his new administration to ensure that the Amazon is protected, and that human rights defenders, including Quilombola defenders, are protected and are able to have justice and accountability for their human rights violations. We must hold the Brazilian state and private actors responsible for human rights violations through the existing rights-based framework through the newly ratified Regional Agreement on Access to Information, Public Participation and Justice in Environmental Matters in Latin America and the Caribbean (“Escazú Agreement”) and the Esperanza Protocol.