Greenpeace activists dress as jaguars to protest soy-driven deforestation in northern Argentina
A proposed law that would introduce criminal penalties for
illegal deforestation in Argentina is being deliberately
held up by government officials, Greenpeace has claimed.
Meanwhile, Greenpeace’s latest
monitoring report shows that a further 19,615 hectares of illegal
clearance occurred between January and June 2017 across four provinces in the
north of the country.
In 2016, Greenpeace and a coalition of campesino and
indigenous organisations called for a ‘Forest Offenses Act’ to
halt Argentina’s epidemic of illegal deforestation. The new law would establish
a prison term of two to ten years for those who deforest without authorisation,
as well as custodial sentences for public officials who collaborate in the
However, for the proposal to become law it must be discussed
and voted on by the country’s Criminal Legislation Committee, headed by
congresswoman María Gabriela Burgos.
“It is unacceptable that almost a year has passed and the
Criminal Law Commission has not addressed it,” said Hernán Giardini,
coordinator of the Greenpeace Argentina Forestry Campaign. “While their vote is
delayed, illegal clearances and evictions of peasant and indigenous communities
Greenpeace has long argued that the penalties in place under
Argentina’s 2007 Forestry Law are inadequate. Government statistics show that
2.4 million hectares of forest have been cleared since the law took effect. A
third of the clearances took place in protected areas where deforestation
“Large agribusinesses violate the Forestry Law without
proper punishment: they are simply charged a small fine which is insignificant
compared to the money they can earn by destroying the forest,” said Giardini.
“In many cases, the complicity of the officials in the violation of the norm is
clear. Congress should urgently pass the Forest Offenses Act to end this