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2 Jul 2021

Open Democracy

Brazil: Bill proposed by the agribusiness lobby threatens to end Indigenous peoples’ right to be consulted on the use of their land

Paralaxis / Alamy Stock Photo

“The war on Indigenous rights in Brazil is intensifying”, 29 June 2021

...New legislation in the form of a bill known as PL 490/2007 threatens to cancel legal protections for Indigenous territories, while a landmark Supreme Court case over the so-called marco temporal, a 1988 cut-off date that threatens to strip the Indigenous peoples of existing land rights...On 23 June, a committee in the lower house of the Brazilian parliament approved a draft of PL 490/2007, which will now be put to the vote. If lawmakers pass the bill, it will end Indigenous peoples’ right to be consulted on the use of their land by non-Indigenous peoples. The government could allow unrestricted access to natural resources, including extractive activities such as mining and commercial agriculture. The bill, which has been under consideration since 2007, was proposed by the country’s powerful agro-business lobby...Its motivation is obvious: to allow greater loggers, miners and cattle ranchers access to vast tracts of land in the Amazon…Bolsonaro made known his opposition to Indigenous land rights. Repeatedly complaining that the Indigenous population occupies too much of Brazil’s land, Bolsonaro declared on the campaign trail that “If I become president there will not be a centimetre more of Indigenous land”...FUNAI... is meant to protect Brazil’s more than 300 Indigenous groups...But if PL 490/2007 were to pass and become the law of the land in Brazil, its effects would be more sweeping by far…On 23 June, after the draft bill was approved by the parliamentary committee, more than 450 Indigenous leaders from 25 communities across the country, gathered in the federal capital Brasilia to protest the attack upon the constitutional rights of Indigenous peoples in Brazil. The government responded by deploying riot police to fire rubber bullets and tear gas at the protesters…