I am aware of the concerns regarding attacks on indigenous communities and environmental defenders in Brazil, and concerns that such groups are often a target of violence due to their concerns around the development of indigenous lands without sufficient consultation or consent.
A report released in August 2018 by UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Ms. Victoria Tauli Corpuz, highlights the difficult situation that exists in several countries, including Brazil, for indigenous communities and activists. The report concludes that States carry the primary responsibility for ensuring that indigenous peoples are able to safely exercise their rights, and that accountability is established for violations against indigenous communities and defenders. The report also highlights the necessity to engage in genuine, free and informed consultation with communities prior to development.
Ireland has called on a number of occasions for States, including Brazil, to ensure full accountability for any violence, harassment or intimidation of civil society, indigenous or environmental activists exercising their rights to freedom of expression, and for the respect of indigenous communities' rights. I would like to take this opportunity to reiterate that call.
Ireland used the occasion of the 27th Session of the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council in Geneva on 5 May 2017 to express our concern at the reported regression in the protection of indigenous peoples’ rights in Brazil. Ireland recommended that Brazil take further steps to protect human rights defenders, including those working on the rights of indigenous peoples, by ensuring impartial, thorough and effective investigations into all cases of attacks, harassment and intimidation and the prosecution of all alleged perpetrators of such offences.
In addition to raising these issues at multilateral level, officials of my Department at home and at our Embassy in Brasília engage regularly with human rights activists and civil society leaders in Brazil and across Latin America, including those working on the rights of indigenous communities. Ireland's Ambassador to Brazil has visited the Amazon region on three occasions in the past months and engaged with indigenous communities offering them an opportunity to express their concerns.
I can assure the Deputy that Ireland is committed to supporting human rights defenders, open civil society space and the protection and promotion of fundamental rights and freedoms, and that officials in my Department in Dublin and at our Embassy in Brasila, including through coordination among EU Member States represented in Brazil, will continue to monitor the human rights situation.