Top Amazon cardinal says murder of environmental activists a key concern

(Crux. Elise Ann Allen).

Peruvian Jesuit Cardinal Pedro Barreto has said that leading concerns for the Amazon region include not only issues like deforestation and illegal mining, but also the harassment and at times murder of environmental activists. Speaking to Vatican News, the Vatican’s official state-run information platform, following a meeting with Pope Francis Monday, Barreto said the Church in the region is “very, very concerned about the situation, I would say, of abuse of environmental defenders, with some murders.” Other major concerns, he said, are “the irrational exploitation of natural resources, deforestation, illegal mining, which means that the urgency is increasing due to the effects of climate change.” President of the first-ever Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon (CEAMA), Barreto, 80, noted that the Amazon forest covers 2,702,715 square miles, and includes nine countries, 105 dioceses, and more than 130 bishops.

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