Brazil: Federal Supreme Court may decide future of Indigenous Land demarcations; time frame violates indigenous peoples' rights and is harmful to the country
The Federal Supreme Court will judge what may define the future of the demarcation of Indigenous Lands (TIs) in Brazil. Indigenous peoples from all over the country are gathered in Brasilia, in the Struggle for Life Camp (Acampamento Luta pela Vida - ALV), which takes place throughout the week. More than 6,000 people, from 173 different indigenous peoples, from all regions of the country, are participating in the mobilization, which is the largest of its kind since at least 2005.
The Supreme Federal Court will examine the repossession suit filed by the Santa Catarina government against the Xokleng people, concerning the Ibirama-Laklãnõ Indigenous Territory, which is also home to the Guarani and Kaingang peoples. At the centre of the dispute is the discussion around the so-called "Marco Temporal" (Time Limit Trick ), a political-legal thesis defended by ruralists and sectors interested in the exploitation of the Indigenous Lands. According to this interpretation, considered unconstitutional, the indigenous peoples would only have the right to demarcation of the lands that were in their possession on October 5, 1988, date of the promulgation of the Constitution. Alternatively, if they were not in possession of the land, they would need to be in judicial dispute or in proven material conflict over the area on the same date.
For the indigenous people, the thesis is unfair because it disregards the expulsions, forced removals and all the violence suffered by the indigenous people until the promulgation of the Constitution. In addition, it ignores the fact that, until 1988, they were under the guardianship of the State and could not go to court independently to fight for their rights.