Crime & Justice

Lula announces new indigenous land demarcations

Rio de Janeiro, Sep 5 (EFE).- Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced Tuesday the demarcation of several indigenous territories, one of the promises made since his candidacy, during the celebration of the Amazon Day.

“September 5 is the day of the Amazon (…). We are going to have an activity at the Planalto Palace, and we will delimitate some indigenous and environmental protection areas”, assured the progressive leader in the program he broadcasts weekly through social networks.

The announcement comes at a time when the Supreme Court analyzes indigenous rights to ancestral lands, a controversial issue confronting native peoples and the powerful agricultural sector.

Since last week, the justices of the highest Court have been discussing the constitutionality of the legal thesis known as “temporal framework,” which holds that indigenous peoples only have the right to the lands they occupied on October 5, 1988, the date of promulgation of the Brazilian Constitution.

The thesis, much criticized by the indigenous peoples, would prevent the demarcation of lands that traditionally belonged to the native peoples, lands that in 1988 had already been occupied by farmers or ranchers, sometimes by force.

In May, the Lower House approved, by a majority, the bill establishing the temporary framework for the demarcation of indigenous lands, which still needs to be approved by the Senate, something which the Court’s decision may influence.

According to official data, native peoples in Brazil occupy 13.7% of the national territory, with 610 indigenous lands, of which 487 have an actual delimitation.

Of this total, the vast majority are located in the Brazilian Amazon, with 329 demarcated areas.

The demarcation of indigenous territories was utterly paralyzed during the four years of the government of the ultra-right-wing Jair Bolsonaro, who also promoted measures to allow mineral exploitation in these areas, although environmental laws protect them. EFE


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