Today, Tuesday December 4th, about 70 indigenous leaders from Mato Grosso do Sul and various other regions of Brazil will be in Brasilia, to deliver to the Brazilian authorities over twenty thousand signatures of the campaign “I support the Indigenous Cause.” The movement claims the demarcation of indigenous lands, the rejection of the Constitutional Amendment Proposal nr. 215 (PEC 215) and the judgment of all urgent actions underway in the Supreme Court (STF) involving indigenous peoples’ rights.
The signatures will be delivered to the Supreme Court, the Congress and the Presidency after a rally organized by the Human Rights and Miorities Commission of the Chamber of Deputies.
Renown human rights activists like Noam Chomsky and Eduardo Galeano as well as a series of famous Brazilians like Wagner Moura and DJ Leonardo support the campaign. Launched in June, the movement is an initiative of the Indigenist Missionary Council (CIMI) and the Association of Judges for Democracy (AJD), with the support of dozens of indigenous organizations, indigenous and social movements. The Brazilian cartoonist and activist Carlos Latuff dedicated a cartoon to the campaign “I support the Indigenous cause.”
Indigenous leaders from across the country, members of the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) as well as members of the National Council of Indigenous Policy (CNPI) will participate in the rally.
The major indigenous delegation is of the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, coming directly from the Aty Guassú, the general assembly of the Guarani and Kaiowá peoples, held between November 28 and December 2. Among them, Genito and Walmir the children of the murdered Kaiowá leader Nízio Gomes of the Guaiviry community; Ladio Veron, son of Marcos Veron, murdered in 2003; Lucine, daughter of chief Zezinho, whose assassination was never investigated; Shatalim will be present, representing the community of Ñu Vera, which at this very moment is subject to repossession ruling of the Federal Court; chiefs that are under death threat, like Eliseu of the Kurusu Ambá community;
Also present is Líder Lopes representing the Pyelito Kue community, that sent out the death sentence letter that recently spread around the world.
A group of leaders of the Terena people, that have been struggling for the demarcation of their ancestral lands for 30 years, who have suffered four violent repossessions and eviction attacks from farmers since 2008, when they began the process of recovering their ancestral territories, will also be part of the demonstration.
The petition comes at a time of serious violations of indigenous rights in Brazil. In the state Amazonas, on Sep. 7, an indigenous Munduruku leader was killed during a Federal Police operation on demarcated indigenous territory. In Mato Grosso do Sul, indigenous Kadiwéu are being evicted from land that has been demarcated over a century ago, while Guarani-Kaiowá suffer violent attacks and pressures of all kinds.
In Rio Grande do Sul, indigenous Kaingang and Mbyá live on road sides, camping under the intense cold of the South, surviving for decades on small pieces of land between the fences of large landowners and asphalt highways.
In the Javari Valley, where about 4000 indigenous of the Marubo, Kanamari, Matis, Kulina, Maioruna and Korubo, as well as at least 13 other uncontacted peoples live, the health situation is dire. Among them is the highest level of hepatitis contamination, especially type B, deadly and incurable – more than 85% of the population is infected with one or more types of the virus. There occur also strong malaria epidemics. Both diseases directly attack the liver, and the combination of the two problems have weakened the population and led to am extremely alarming number of deaths. For years the population have called for urgent measures to the Brazilian government – which is no longer a fight for decent public health policies that meet the Indigenous, becoming a battle to against the extermination of these indigenous peoples.
Another emblematic case is the one of the Awa-Guajá people in the state of Maranhao. If realized, the expansion Carajás railroad of the mining company Vale will cause the destruction of forests and wildlife, source of life of the indigenous who today have their lands invaded by loggers. These open up clandestine roads, deforesting privileged hunting and fishing regions of critical importance to the physical and cultural survival of the Awá-Guajá people, especially the non-contacted communities.
Denunciation at UN
The APIB denounced the violation of indigenous rights and the genocide promoted against indigenous peoples of Brazil to the United Nations (UN). Highlighted were the Constitutional Amendment Proposal nr. 215 (PEC 215) and the 303 Ordinance of the Attorney General (AGU) as legal instruments that contravene ILO Convention 169 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. To read Document submitted to UN click here: http://earthpeoples.org/blog/?p=2866
The PEC 215 proposes the transfer to the National Congress of the authority to approve the demarcation of indigenous lands, creation of conservation units and titling Maroon territories. This has been, so far, the responsibility of the executive branch, through the National Foundation for the Indigenous (Funai ), the Brazilian Institute of Environment (IBAMA) and the Palmares Cultural Foundation (PCF). The approval of PEC 215 – as well as PEC 038/99, pending in Senate – would endanger indigenous lands already demarcated and inhibit any possible future demarcation.
What: Delivery of the campaign signatures of the “I support the indigenous cause”campaign and Public Act the houses of Parliament with indigenous participation
When: December 4, 9 am
Where: Plenary Room nr. 1 of Annex 2 of the Chamber of Deputies, Brasília
How and Why: Several leaders from across Brazil will be present to denounce the indigenous rights’ violations, demanding land demarcation and celerity of Supreme Court rulings and protesting PEC 215.
(Text translated from Portuguese to English by Paul Wolters)