(dpa) - The Brazilian bar association on Friday proposed the creation of an international tribunal to fight deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, Brazilian media reported.
"Allowing Amazonia to be devastated, as is happening at great pace, is committing a crime against humanity," the Order of Brazilian Lawyers president Cezar Britto said in a statement.
The association said it will hold a large-scale meeting this year to discuss the creation of the tribunal and "definitive solutions to prevent the disappearance of these assets that belong to Brazil and to humanity."
Britto said the tribunal should be permanent and put pressure on individual countries to adopt public policy to preserve the rainforest and its great biodiversity.
Amazonia, the largest tropical rainforest in the world, covers a surface of 5.5 million square kilometres across eight countries - Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru and Venezuela.
Official data were released Thursday showing 3,235 square kilometres of jungle were destroyed in the last five months of 2007, setting a record pace for deforestation.
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Thursday called an emergency meeting of seven ministers, and a series of measures were announced to investigate the increase in deforestation and intensify efforts to fight it.
Among the measures announced were the suspension of licences to cut down the forest in towns with the highest rates of illegal deforestation in 2007, an embargo on estates where there is deforestation and the suspension of financial assistance for businesses that promote illegal tree-cutting.
Beginning February 21, surveillance of Amazonia is set to be increased, with the presence of an extra 780 federal police officers.
Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva said the recent increase in deforestation is linked to the search for more land for the production of meat and soy.