Water Disputes, Land Conflicts On The Rise In Brazil


The number of water disputes in Brazil rose by 40 percent between 2017 and 2018, with the number of affected families more than doubling, according to a new report. In addition, 2018 recorded the highest water discord since 2002. The report indicates that over 50% of the disputes/conflicts were the consequence of mining activities and its related infrastructure such as hydroelectric power plants.

The Brazilian Conference of National Bishops received the report on land and water conflicts during their annual meeting during the week of April 8. The report was prepared by the Episcopal Commission for Pastoral Care (CPT) of the world’s largest Catholic country and developed information on land-related conflict and killings as well as disputes over water resources.

The Rio Times cites the CPT report that "points out that mining activity in itself isn’t the only source of conflict: “A mine requires a whole infrastructure of offices, warehouses, roads, railways, and pipelines. The use of these new areas inevitably leads to conflict with the population and communities living and working in those areas.”

More generally, land disputes rose by 35.6 percent between 2017 and 2018, with almost a million people affected. The trend in family disputes rose 11 percent year on year. The report points out the number of killings in rural areas declined in the year but suggests this is decrease could not be construed as a “trend” as killings in the first quarter of 2019 showed an increase over the previous year.

CPT also found that over 2,000 families had been evicted by public authorities, most especially in rural areas.

The report also covered recorded incidents of slave labor, counting the number of affected persons, as well as highlights environmental offenses, namely cases of workers who have been victims of pesticide poisoning.