prosecutors recommend banks in brazil to cancel finance to farms inside indigenous lands and conservation units

Brazil’s Federal Prosecution Service (MPF) has recommended that eight banks terminate the financing granted to thousands of properties overlapping indigenous lands and conservation units.

The banks that received the recommendation are Banco do Brasil, Caixa Econômica Federal, Banco da Amazônia, Banco de Lage Landen Brasil (a Rabobank subsidiary), Banco Sicredi, Bradesco, Itaú and Santander.

The request was based on a Greenpeace report, released in April, that points to suspected infractions and irregularities in the granting of rural credit to properties in the Amazon. The document points out that, among all rural properties that received financing between 2018 and 2022, 10,074 are overlapping conservation units, 24 on indigenous lands, and 21,692 on undesignated public forests. The study also found that 798 financed properties had embargoes from Ibama and 29,502 properties had deforestation in the period analyzed.

According to the recommendation, the banks must identify current rural credit operations that were granted to properties wholly or partially located on indigenous lands, conservation units and non-allocated public forests. The banks are recommended to anticipate the closure of those transactions that are considered irregular.

The MPF states that the Federal Constitution grants indigenous peoples the exclusive rights to benefit from their territories, so that acts that have as their object the occupation, control and possession of indigenous lands are considered null and extinct. Similarly, the Federal Constitution provides for the existence of specially protected territorial spaces (article 225, §1, item III), such as conservation units (Law No. 9,985/2000) and non-designated public forests (Law No. 11,284 /2016), and it is up to the public authorities to employ the necessary means and efforts to prevent and repress invasions in areas subject to forestry concessions (article 2, §3 of Law no. 11,284/2006)”, says the recommendation.

Banking institutions were informed that they could be held responsible for irregularities.