Amazon Deforestation — [Mrs Madeleine Moon in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 6:18 pm on 7th October 2019.

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Photo of Helen Goodman Helen Goodman Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 6:18 pm, 7th October 2019

My hon. Friend makes an excellent point, and she brings me on to my next action. The fact of the matter is—we see this all over the world—that environmental destruction and human rights abuses are often going on in the same places at the same time, all jumbled up. We are seeing that here, too. That is one reason why I hope the Government will take a more sympathetic view than they do currently to the ongoing negotiations in Geneva on the UN binding treaty on transnational corporations and human rights. That treaty would put obligations on transnational corporations to respect human rights, and we could extend that to respecting environmental rights, too.

The No. 1 priority is not to sign a trade deal that will incentivise further destruction of the rainforest, but there are a range of things that the Minister could do. We are discussing the issue here, and the Pope is holding an Amazon synod in Rome. I was struck by what he said in opening the meeting on Saturday; it was appropriate and it set the problem in its context. In Rome, he has groups representing 400 indigenous communities alongside him. He said that we have to stop

“the greed of new forms of colonialism.”