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Save the ancestral land of the quilombola people


Brazil’s quilombola people fight for their land rights


July 2020 | The quilombola community is threatened by the governmental plan to build a highway right through their village

brazil - human rights - institutional racism - land rights

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In 2017, in the rural forest in Brazil, the collective Agentes Agroflorestais Quilombolas (AAQ) was born. As a unity of young quilombolas, they are following in the footsteps of their older leaders who preceded them in the fight for land and territory. They take actions to resist the human rights and environmental violations committed against them by the public authorities and governments.


The National Department of Transport Infrastructure (DNIT) of the Brazilian government has attempted to extend a highway passing through the lands of the quilombolas, a population of black men and women kidnapped in Guinea Bissau in the 18th and 19th centuries and enslaved in Maranhão by Irish invaders. This highway invaded their lands in 1940, and now the Brazilian government wants to extend it to increase the flow of soy and ore production to Europe, Japan and China. The construction work began without the quilombolas being consulted. Trees were felled, streams were silted, houses were damaged and people were threatened by government agents.

Through direct action, the AAQ stopped the machines in 2017, and through justice, they suspended building permits in 2018. Now, with the election of the fascist president Jair Bolsonaro, DNIT wants to complete the extension of the highway. If that happens, we will face the destruction of the quilombola culture. Over 2.000 people will be expelled from their lands, and their centennial way of life will be destroyed to feed transnational capital with their bodies and natural resources.

In order to stop this, the AAQ took direct political action by taking 200 young black quilombola to camp for three days at a public agency in the city of São Luís, capital of the state of Maranhão. The purpose of the camp was to draw national and international attention to the threat of environmental and institutional racism and to prevent extension of the highway through political pressure.

Het Actiefonds supports AAQ in their fight for their rights! Stay informed and follow their actions through their website and follow their Instagram page for updates and videos on the matter.