APIB leader Sonia Guajajara in front of Norway's Embassy / Photo by: Estevão Ciavatta.

On September 21, a Jatoba tree was accepted as a refugee at the Norwegian embassy in Brasilia, Brazil. The symbolic gesture was an action proposed by indigenous umbrella organization, the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) and GT Infra, to raise awareness about the destruction of the Amazon rainforest. 

Yesterday morning, the native tree arrived at the embassy entrance. APIB leader Sonia Guajajara read a letter pleading for Norway to save the amazonian tree and therefore its forest – Norway is the first country in the world to commit to no longer using any products that contribute to deforestation. The Jatobá was accepted and planted on embassy grounds.

“To the white man, this ‘asylum’ request may seem odd, since he lives disconnected from the natural world and sees himself as superior to trees and nature. Our indigenous ancestrality, however, has taught us to live in a collective manner. This plea is a cry for the life of all living beings threatened by a corrupted and outdated vision of interaction between humans and nature”, Guajara warned. 

The tree was planted on the embassy.

The action also called attention to the letter Five Emergency Measures to Fight the Deforestation Crisis in The Amazon. Proposed by more than 60 civil society organizations and networks, the document urges for a moratorium of at least five years on any forest clearing in the region, among other requests.  

“This uncommon refugee request reveals the severity of the situation for millions of trees and other forms of life in Brazil, a country where the ones supposed to protect the environment are often tied to its destruction. It’s up to us, citizens, to fight in defense of our forest. A good starting point will be the measures proposed in our letter, which will allow our trees, forests and communities to live in peace, and for the rainforest to sustain its role in the climate balance”, pointed out Sérgio Guimarães, from GT Infraestrutura. 

The full letter (In Portuguese and English) and other information about the protest are available on the website Refugee Tree. 

Featured photo: APIB leader Sonia Guajajara in front of Norway’s Embassy / Photo by: Estevão Ciavatta.