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Brazil: Indigenous Peoples Demand Repeal of ‘Anti-Indian’ Decree

Indigenous Peoples throughout Brazil are mobilizing to repeal a dangerous new "anti-indian" law that decimates indigenous rights to land as guaranteed by Brazil's Federal Constitution and backed by international agreements such as ILO Convention 169 and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In no uncertain terms, the law known as Decree 303 opens the doors to a full-scale military invasion of Indigenous lands. And that’s not even the half of it.

Issued on July 17, 2012 by the Office of the Solicitor-General or AGU, Decree 303/2012:

Permits any indigenous land to be occupied by military units, posts and other interventions, without consulting the indigenous peoples and communities

Permits the construction of roads, hydropower projects and mining projects of a “strategic nature”, also without consulting the indigenous peoples and communities;

Prohibits the demarcation of new land (which means indigenous people cannot have any more land, ever. This is a death knell for the Guarani and other Internally Displaced Indigenous Peoples);

Restricts the autonomy of indigenous peoples on their territories;

Limits the establishment of indigenous rights to the exclusive use of natural resources;

Transfers control of indigenous lands presently overlapped by protected areas to the Chico Mendes Institute for biodiversity conservation (ICMBIO).

According to CIMI, the decree–which totally violates Chapter VIII, Article 231 of the Federal Constitution of 1988–also paves the way for the invasion of indigenous lands by illegal loggers and agribusiness (soy, eucalyptus, cattle, sugarcane).

Thanks to a concerted effort by Indigenous Peoples and allies, Brazil was forced to suspend the Ordinance the same day is was issued, on July 17. Unfortunately, the two-month suspension was little more than a stop gap that served to weaken the mobilization and provide the government with more time to strengthen its colonial crusade.

Nevertheless, Indigenous Peoples kept the pressure on, leading wave after wave of protest across the country. Principle among them, on August 10, more than 50 indigenous leaders occupied the headquarters of the AGU to demand the revocation of Decree 303; On August 20, sixteen different Indigenous Nations in the State Mato Grosso came together to show their outrage against the Decree and the recent gutting of the FUNAI, Brazil’s Buerau of Indian Affairs; and on September 4, the Guajajara shut down BR-316, a federal highway that connects the cities of Belém in the state of Pará, and Maceió in Alagoas.

ENTIRE ARTICLE HERE: Brazil: Indigenous Peoples Demand Repeal of ‘Anti-Indian’ Decree.

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