Delayed indigenous land demarcation aggravate conflicts

Agencia Brazil

Alex Rodrigues reports from Agência Brasil Edited by: Denise Griesinger / Nira Foster

The Indigenous Missionary Council releases at CNBB, the headquarters of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, the report entitled Violence Against Indigenous Peoples in Brazil in 2013Elza Fiúza/Agência Brasil
The Indigenous Missionary Council releases at CNBB, the headquarters of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, the report entitled Violence Against Indigenous Peoples in Brazil in 2013Elza Fiúza/Agência Brasil

Chairman of the Indigenous Missionary Council (“Cimi”) Bishop Erwin Kräutler is charging governmental agencies with neglect towards the indigenous policy and the life of indigenous peoples. He believes that the interruption by the government of the procedures for the demarcation of the Indians’ lands aggravate conflicts in many states and intensifies violence and death threats against this population throughout the country.

A report on violence against indigenous people published today (Jul 17) in Brasília indicated that only one indigenous land was officially recognized by President Dilma Rousseff in 2013: the Kaybi Indigenous Land, in the state of Pará. The average number of lands recognized as indigenous during Fernando Henrique Cardoso’s administration (1995 to 2002) was 18 per year, whereas Lula’s counterpart was 10 (2013 to 2010).

Kräutler argues that the federal government should be held accountable for the plight of the indigenous peoples, pointing out that, according to the Federal Constitution, the Brazilian State should have identified and demarcated their areas, and evicted non-Indians from all traditionally indigenous territories by 1993.

According to Cimi, out of the 1,047 areas claimed by the Indians, only 38 percent have been registered as legal. Nearly 30 percent of them are in the process of official registration, and, in 32 percent of the cases, the legal process of demarcation has not even been initiated yet. As regards the lands whose registration is complete, 98.75 percent of them are located in the Amazônia Legal region. In the meantime, 554,081 of the country’s 896,917 Indians live in areas of the country where registered indigenous lands occupy a mere 1.25 percent of its extension.

Cimi states that at least 30 demarcation processes of areas already identified by the National Indian Foundation (“Funai”) have no administrative or legal issue unsettled that could hinder the recognition of the reserve. Nonetheless, processes remain unfinished.

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Pedro Peduzzi contributed to this article.
Translated by Fabrício Ferreira