Indigenous people of Brazil are asking for your support for their fight to defend their lives and lands.
Across Brazil, invasions and destruction of indigenous lands and attacks against indigenous peoples, are skyrocketing. The Bolsonaro government is attempting to push through legislation which will further its genocidal plans and actions to destroy indigenous peoples and further open up Brazil’s forests to exploitation.
This is a critical moment in the global struggle for indigenous peoples’ rights, and in the fight against climate catastrophe. The best defenders of the world’s forests are the people who live there.
On 25 August, Brazil’s Supreme Court (STF) is expected to rule on a landmark case that could decide the future of the protection of Indigenous territories. The ruling could have a major impact on the lives and livelihoods of Indigenous Peoples across Brazil.
The Supreme Court will analyse a lawsuit filed against the Xokleng people by the government of Santa Catarina state and a logging company operating in the area, claiming that the Xokleng only lived in limited parts of the territory on 5 October 1988 – the date of the signing of Brazil’s constitution – and therefore have no right to most of their original land.
This idea, known as the “Marco Temporal” or “Time Limit Trick”, is being pushed by anti-indigenous politicians and ranchers who want to steal indigenous territories and open them up for large-scale agribusiness and mining. The decision the Court makes on the Xokleng case is due to determine the validity, or not, of the Time Limit Trick for all other cases in which it could be applied. If the Judges approve it, indigenous rights will be set back decades and the stage will be set for further environmental catastrophe.
The Brazilian Constitution, however, does not establish any time limits for indigenous land rights, and international law clearly states that indigenous peoples have the right to their ancestral lands.
Many indigenous people were not living on their land on 5 October 1988 as they had been forcibly and violently evicted before the constitution was enacted. And the existence and location of several uncontacted tribes had not been confirmed by the government on that date, despite there being plenty of evidence. President Bolsonaro and his allies are trying to rip up these peoples’ right to their territories, but the indigenous movement in Brazil and their allies around the world are fighting back.
The Time Limit Trick is one of many genocidal bills and constitutional amendments now threatening Brazil’s indigenous peoples. The powerful agribusiness lobby in Congress recently pushed through two bills that threaten indigenous land rights and the environment: PL490, known as the “Bill of Death”, approved by the Commission of Constitution of Justice (CCJ) of the Chamber of Deputies on June 24 and PL2633, known as the “Land Grabbing Bill”, approved in the lower house on August 3 and now waiting to be voted in the Senate. Neither of the texts were previously presented to civil society, in typical behaviour of anti-democratic regimes.
This is a call to join the fight for the future of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples.
We will be gathering together on August 25th from 10am to 11:30am outside of the Brazilian Embassy in London (14-16 Cockspur Street SW1Y 5BL).
You can find more information about the action and Covid restrictions on the Facebook page