Indigenous tribes hold 3 engineers hostage over Belo Monte dam

Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com
July 26, 2012



Three engineers are being held hostage by the Juruna and Arara indigenous tribes as tensions rise over the on-going construction of the Belo Monte dam in Brazil, reports the Indigenous rights NGO Amazon Watch. The company building the dam, Norte Energia, has confirmed that three of its employees were being held against their will. Tribal groups in the region say the massive dam will upend their way of life, and that construction is already making travel along the Xingu river difficult.

The $11 billion Belo Monte is expected to flood more than 40,000 hectares of rainforest, displacing 16,000 people according to the government and 40,000 according to critics. Eighty percent of the Xingu's flow will be rerouted, impacting fish migrations and perhaps even sending some species into extinction. If completed, the dam will be the world's third largest.

Leaders with the Juruna and Arara have stated that they will hold the engineers hostage until Norte Energia and the Brazilian government address issues such as navigation, water quality, sanitation, natural resources, and protection of indigenous territories. The tribes say the engineers will not be harmed. The kidnapping occurred after 13 tribes occupied a section of the dam, holding up construction, for three weeks. Meetings between Norte Energia and the indigenous groups have so far produced no way forward.

At the same time, legal action against Belo Monte continues. This week, the Federal Public Prosectors Office' filed a lawsuit that demanded total suspension of the Belo Monte dam, arguing that Norte Energia has not met its legal obligations.













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CITATION:
Jeremy Hance
mongabay.com (July 26, 2012).

Indigenous tribes hold 3 engineers hostage over Belo Monte dam.

http://news.mongabay.com/2012/0726-hance-belo-monte-hostage.html