New documentary on indigenous rights in the Amazon launches

13th August 2020

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Lyndsay Yuille

A new documentary, which follows the building of a road through the Amazon rainforest – causing conflict, fear and large-scale deforestation – has launched worldwide today.

The launch of the 23-minute film, Voices on the Road, follows a year of screening at international film festivals, and a Transform interview with filmmaker Eilidh Munro in 2019.

It documents how the road is contributing to climate breakdown, land grabbing, erosion of indigenous culture, and has links to illegal gold mining, cocaine trafficking and modern day slavery.

Yet for the indigenous Yine people from the Diamante native community, the road also brings hope and the promise of a better life.

“People here are human beings that need to live,“ said primary school teacher Myriam Lupaca Medina. “Human beings that need a quality of life. And that is what we ask for. A quality of life.“

For years, the community have been tirelessly campaigning for the road to be built, despite the dangers it brings.

Politicians are promising Diamante people that the road will create jobs and improve livelihoods, that it will bring better education and healthcare.

However, the road is cutting through a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Manu Biosphere Reserve in south-eastern Peru, and scientists predict it will cause over 40,000 hectares of deforestation by 2040 – an area equivalent to the combined size of Edinburgh and Glasgow.

The all-female filming team behind the new documentary spent 40 days visiting and living with indigenous communities in the remote jungle.

They carried out over 50 interviews and recorded intimate personal stories as native communities struggled to protect their land and culture, feeling ignored and forgotten by the state, uncovering stories of corruption, exploitation and a thriving black market economy.

You can watch the film here

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