September 25, 2020, 07.13 PM

RIO DE JANEIRO, KOMPAS.com - In his speech to the UN earlier this week, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro claimed that the country has been wrongly portrayed as an environmental villain.

Bolsonaro defended his administration’s record of protecting the Amazon rainforest. However, the Brazilian President’s critics were quick to pick apart his claims.

As the first speaker in the UN General Assembly's general debate, in keeping with tradition for the Brazilian leader, Jair Bolsonaro said the South American nation’s agribusiness sector has succeeded in boosting agricultural exports to feed a growing global population, which has made it a target

“We are victims of one of the most brutal disinformation campaigns about the Amazon and the Pantanal wetlands,” Bolsonaro said.

Read also: Coronavirus Misinformation is Proving to be a Contagious Trend

"The Brazilian Amazon is well known to be very rich. That explains why international institutions support such campaigns based on ulterior interests, joined by self-serving and unpatriotic Brazilian associations, with the objective of harming the government and Brazil itself.”

Last week, a group of European countries — the Amsterdam Declarations Partnership, led by Germany — published a joint statement urging Brazil to take action in the Amazon.

They said deforestation is making it “increasingly difficult” for businesses and investors in Brazil to fulfill their environmental, social and governance criteria.

“He (Bolsonaro) claimed that they were leading a campaign to discredit his government, yet it is his administration that has systematically eroded environmental legislation and not enforced penalties for environmental crime,” said Robert Muggah, Co-founder of Igarapé Institute, a Rio de Janeiro-based think tank focused on public, digital and environmental security.

“Under his watch, illegal land clearances, illicit deforestation, and wildcat mining have soared," Muggah said.

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