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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), Published on: 17 August 2017
"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...