A new law went into effect just recently in the European Union, in an effort to protect forests and prevent deforestation, but indigenous leaders in several countries believe it's too little and doesn't protect the rights of the indigenous people.

While leaders in the European Union (EU) are hailing a new law that prevents the import into the bloc of key commodities like beef, coffee, chocolate and more that are linked to deforestation, leaders from rainforests in countries like Indonesia and Brazile say the law doesn't do anything to improve the rights of the indigenous.

The law will mandate limits on palm oil, cattle, coffee, cocoa, soy, rubber and timber supplies, as well as furniture and beef into the EU and force the companies providing those commodities to prove they are not fueling the deforestation of prized land.

Dinamam Tuxa is a Brazilian is the head of Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB), which is an indigenous umbrella organization. In an article with EcoBusiness, he said that the law might help curb the rates of deforestation across a lot of the Amazon basin, but was not necessarily broad enough in its scope to protect indigenous rights. The Amazin basin spans nine nations, one of which is Brazil.

The new legislation doesn't cover or protect deforestation from areas that are outside of rainforests, areas like very biodiverse wetlands, savannahs and semi-arid rainforests. All those areas are key carbon impact regions and protecting them protects our climate as a whole. According to Tuxa, the law should have included other important biomes and been more protective.

Areas like Brazil's Cerrado Savannah would not fall under the protection, despite it being the fastest-growing area of agricultural expansion in the country.

The EU said that within a year of the law coming into effect, they'd look into extending the protection to other wooded areas, and within two years, they'd look into broadening it to include the other mentioned ecosystems as well.

Tuxa said that unfortunately, years of agencies who help monitor, trace and verify supply chains in accordance with the law being underfunded by outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro leave the ecosystems and their people and products vulnerable.

Levi Sucre is an indigenous Bribri leader from Costa Rica who welcomed the EU law and its potential. He said that Latin America's deforestation rates were alarming, but that the legislation was fragile, and wouldn't put much extra pressure on governments to ensure the respect of rights of indigenous people.

He also said that in many Latin American countries, though the rights of the indigenous people are part of state constitutions and local laws, they're often circumvented and ignored and this law won't do enough to prevent that.

Essentially, the government and companies have shared interests--and verifying that the rights of the indigenous in the process are protected will likely fall short.

According to The Global Alliance of Territorial Communities (GATC), indigenous leaders of its organization were disappointed that the EU hadn't done a better job of strengthening their rights. The alliance represents tropical forest indigenous peoples from over 14 countries.

Instead, it's as if the fox is watching the henhouse, now.

Sounds about par for the course, though we hope that's not the case and these precious lands and people are protected.