The indigenous community Ashaninka that lives in the Amazon rainforest has finally won the lawsuit against the timber companies that illegally deforested the tribe’s land back in the 1980s. The lawsuit ends two decades later, and the Cameli family, who owns the timber companies, has to pay the Ashaninka tribe a $3 million settlement. The funds will be used to protect the Amazon and the Ashaninka tribe.
Does the Cameli name sound familiar? The family’s timber companies illegally took down thousands and thousands of trees on the Kampa do Rio Amonia Indigenous Reserve between 1981 and 1987 and deforested more than a quarter of indigenous reserve’s land.
Mongabay reports that Gladson Cameli, the current governor of Acre, Brazil, and his uncle Orleir Cameli come from the same family.
The deforestation of the Amazon rainforest has been a huge issue for decades, and it’s the reason why the Amazon was on fire last year.
WWF reports that humans have taken down 17 percent of the Amazon rainforest in the last 50 years, and it’s been mainly used for cattle ranching – raising cows for dairy and beef.
Ashaninka tribe’s first lawsuit was in 1996, and even though the case finally made its way through Brazil’s judicial system and got to Brazil’s Federal Supreme Court in 2011, the case stalled at that point.
The case finally came to a close in Brazil’s Attorney General’s Office a month ago, when representatives for the National Indian Foundation, the Advocacy General of the Union, the estate of Orleir Messias Cameli, the Marmud Cameli company, and the Ashaninka Association of Rio Amônia all came together. The settlement was signed by all parties on April 1.
The Cameli family has to pay $2.4 million (or 14 million Brazillian real) directly to the Ashaninka community, and another $1 million to the Human Rights Defense Fund.
To add to that, the Cameli family has to issue an official apology to the Ashaninka tribe.