Amazon rainforest belongs to Brazil, says Jair Bolsonaro

A firefighter in the AmazonImage copyright

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has insisted that the Amazon rainforest is his country’s sovereign territory.

His policies of opening up the area to development have been criticised amid the wildfires raging there.

But in an address at the United Nations in New York, he struck a defiant note.

“It is a fallacy to say that the Amazon is the heritage of humankind, and a misconception confirmed by scientists to say that our Amazon forests are the lungs of the world,” he said.

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More than 80,000 fires have broken out in the Amazon rainforest so far this year.

Experts believe the majority of the fires across Brazil this year were caused by human activity such as farmers and loggers clearing land for crops or grazing.

Environmentalists say Mr Bolsonaro’s policies have led to an increase in fires this year and that he has encouraged cattle farmers to clear large areas of the rainforest since his election last October.

Media caption“It’s extremely upsetting… to see this kind of devastation” – the BBC’s Will Grant flew over northern Rondonia state