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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), Published on: 17 August 2017

"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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