Brazil: Federal Supreme Court ruling does not adopt time limit thesis on indigenous demarcations & contributes to protecting traditional peoples lands

Brasil protesto indígenas_credit_Agência Brasil_http://diplomatique.org.br/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/956086-14042015-dsc_7558.jpg

On August 16, the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court, in a very important ruling, did adopt time limit thesis on indigenous demarcations. This thesis proposes "to halt any demarcations of land on which indigenous people were not living before October 5, 1988 - when Brazil's current constitution took effect". It has been defended by President Temer, agrobusiness, farmers and other groups who often oppose indigenous peoples rights.

The Supreme Court decision contributes to protecting indigenous and quilombolas (communities of runway slaves) lands. Indigenous movements, human rights NGOs, academics, and many others feared that the decision would support agrobusiness interests and jeopardized the rights of these peoples. But fortunately the Court decided in favour of indigenous and quilombolas.

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Article
17 August 2017

Brazil: Federal Supreme Court maintains rules for indigenous areas

Author: Letícia Casado e Rubens Valente, Folha de Sao Paulo/UOL (Brazil)

"Federal Supreme Court Maintains Rules for Indigenous Areas", 17 August 2017

In a unanimous decision on Wednesday the 16th, the Federal Supreme Court (STF) ruled against the government of Mato Grosso which was seeking indemnification for the expropriation of land for the Xingu national park and for reservations occupied by Nhambiquaras and Parecis Indians...[T]he justices found that the Indians had already been occupying the area, which belongs to the Federal Government, and that the State has no standing to seek redress. The court analyzed two cases by the state government questioning the possession of the areas by Indians. Both were rejected. Mato Grosso had been demanding indemnification from the Federal Government and FUNAI (National Indian Foundation) arguing that the areas had been improperly included in the limits of the Xingu park, without any compensation paid by the Federal Government. It also argued that the Indians weren't living in the region when the demarcation was effected...For...[FUNAI]..., the lands are "immemorially indigenous". The State argued that the areas have belonged to it since the 1891 Constitution, but the Federal Government, which is the other party in the case, argued that the government of Mato Grosso was unable to prove ownership of the territory.

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Article
17 August 2017

Brazil: The Supreme Court favours indigenous groups & rules against Brazilian state seeking compensation for land that had been declared as tribal reserves

Author: Al Jazeera and news agencies (Qatar)

"Brazil court favours indigenous groups in land dispute-The Supreme Court rules against Brazilian state seeking compensation for land that had been declared as tribal reserves", 17 August 2017

Brazilian indigenous activists celebrated on...[16 August]...after the Supreme Court ruled against a state seeking compensation for land that had been declared tribal reserves.The ruling against Mato Grosso state in western Brazil was seen as a victory for indigenous rights in the face of constant pressure from the powerful agricultural lobby. The state had argued that the tribal reserves were created out of its land, but the court rejected this 8-0, saying that the territory had long belonged to the native peoples."It was a positive result, maintaining the land borders that had been under question," Raphaela Lopes, a lawyer for the activist group Justica Global, told AFP news agency. Another case, which involved a controversial bid to reinterpret a constitutional protection for native lands, was shelved when the government department for indigenous affairs, FUNAI, asked for more time to introduce new material. Brazil's 1988 constitution guarantees tribes ownership of ancestral lands. But under a proposal being studied by the Supreme Court, the guarantee would not apply to land unoccupied prior to the law coming into effect that year... The court's decisions left indigenous protesters outside happy... Al Jazeera's David Schweimler...[said]... "They won that victory, but their fight is by no means over. They still face a threat from big business, from agro-business, from soya farmers, from people trying to de-forest their land...It's the same fight they say they've been fighting since the arrival of the first European settlers more than 500 years ago"...Indigenous communities claim that their way of life has increasingly come under fire during the administration of President Michel Temer. Last month, Temer signed a recommendation to block the demarcation of any land on which indigenous people were not living by 1988, the year of Brazil's latest constitution..

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Article
17 August 2017

Brazil: The Supreme Court will decide on a landmark indigenous land rights ruling & activists and international bodies say is a backdrop of rising violence and diminishing rights for indigenous people

Author: Sam Cowie, Al Jazeera (Qatar)

"Brazil set for landmark indigenous land rights ruling-A ruling on the right to three territories could have far reaching consequences for indigenous people across Brazil", 16 August 2017

Brazil's Supreme Court will decide this week on a landmark indigenous land rights ruling, against what activists and international bodies say is a backdrop of rising violence and diminishing rights for indigenous people in the country...[On 16 August]...the court will judge whether indigenous people will have the right to three territories - two in Mato Grosso state and one in Rio Grande do Sul - which experts say could have far reaching consequences for indigenous people across Brazil. Judges will decide whether to apply a time limit on indigenous demarcations, the process by which indigenous people have legal protection to their land. The ruling was signed by Brazil's President Michel Temer last month and proposes to halt any demarcations of land on which indigenous people were not living before October 5, 1988 - when Brazil's current constitution took effect...Experts and indigenous groups have blasted the proposed ruling, saying that tens of thousands of indigenous people were forced from their lands before 1988, often under threat of violence. Many were expelled from their land during Brazil's 1964 to 1985 right-wing military dictatorship to make way for infrastructure projects and farmland. Today, hundreds of indigenous territories are currently awaiting demarcation. Indigenous people's right to land in enshrined in Brazil's constitution but is rarely respected, and the vast majority of violence against indigenous people in Brazil happens because of disputes over land..."The ruling clearly violates the constitution," Luciano Mariz Maia, a prosecutor working with indigenous issues at Brazil's Prosecutor General's Office...[said]...In June...United Nations and inter-American experts warned that indigenous and environmental rights were under attack in Brazil, especially regarding land demarcations...Proponents of the ruling, however, say it gives legal protection to small rural producers...

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