segunda-feira, 12 de maio de 2014

Open letter for the demarcation of the indigenous lands in Brazil

Carimbo de taquara Kaingang - Foto: Vladimir Kozak, 1955
Fonte: ISA-Instituto Socioambiental


We, the traditional leadership of the Kaingang people, leaders, professionals, youth, women, elders of the 305 Indigenous Peoples, who speak 274 languages and which make up 0,4% of the national population, with the support of indigenous organizations and pro-indigenous, of Brazilian citizens, of social movements and organized civil society denounce the Brazilian state, its executive, legislative and judicial powers for its 514 years of omission in favor of the annihilation of Indigenous Peoples, the expropriation of our lands, and the violation of our rights as human beings!

Rio Grande do Sul is home to two of the greatest Indigenous Peoples in the country, making up this province as the 10th in the country population-wise: the Guarani People and the Kaingang People are, respectively, the 2nd and the 3rd biggest populations of Indigenous Peoples in Brazil (IBGE Census, 2010).

 The Kaingang are about 45 thousand people, most of which live in Rio Grande do Sul province and own the smallest indigenous lands of the country, confined in reductions of ancient traditional lands that today correspond to more or less 1% of the province’s territory, creating conflicts in which we defend our land’s right at the cost of lives whose losses are not reported in the media and the individualized criminalization of leaders that defend our collective rights constitutionally guaranteed but disrespected in a daily basis.

The insufficiency of our territories has endangered our physical and cultural survival as Kaingang Peoples, whose language is under risk of extinction, following the UNESCO’s Atlas of the World's languages in Danger of Disappearing and the human development index that put the indigenous peoples as the segments under situation of social risk and show the omission of the Brazilian state in protecting the integrity of the Indigenous Peoples as distinct peoples, in accordance with the article 8 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

We fight in Brazil and abroad to get recognized our original right to land: a right that precedes the existence of the Brazilian state, at the expense of hundreds and thousands of indigenous lives, and we were successful: the Brazilian Constitution and the ILO Convention 169 recognize our right to our indigenous lands. A deadline of 5 years was established in 1988 and the year 1993 passed without the regularization of the indigenous lands in Brazil. 21 years went by and since then we have been fighting not to lose our recognized rights: we denounce the legal back-tracking currently in place the national Congress to eliminate our territorial rights and to bolster the interest of the agribusiness. 

We emphasize that the current government has the smallest indicators of indigenous lands’ demarcation since the military dictatorship and that the Brazilian judiciary, legislative and executive powers have violated the legality principle that mandates the state to respect and implement the right to consultation of Indigenous Peoples likely to be affected by juridical, political or administrative measures, through appropriate procedures and respecting representative institutions, under good will, in accordance with the ILO Convention 169.

We express our concern with initiatives to restrict our lands’ rights, financed by the agribusiness, as per the proposal to constitutional amendment 215, which proposes the attribution to the legislative power activities that are prerogatives of the executive power, in the directive n. 303 of the Federal Attorney General's Office and all the legal and administrative initiatives biased towards diminishing or suppressing the territorial rights of indigenous peoples, in opposition to the spirit of the Federal constitution, the Indigenous Peoples Law (n. 6.001 of 1973) in its article 2, IX and the Decree 1.775 of 1996 and in violation of the article 26 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: 

1. Indigenous peoples have the right to the lands, territories and resources which they have traditionally owned, occupied or other- wise used or acquired.

2. Indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources that they possess by rea- son of traditional ownership or other traditional occupation or use, as well as those which they have otherwise acquired.

3. States shall give legal recognition and protection to these lands, territories and resources. Such recognition shall be conducted with due respect to the customs, traditions and land tenure systems of the indigenous peoples concerned.

We denounce the Brazilian government for each confrontation, for every death that has occurred and is likely to occur for the disputes over immemorial lands, demarcated by the blood of our peoples!

We demand the compliance and the immediate implementation of our human rights previewed in national and international legal frameworks in conducting Indigenous Peoples related policies in Brazil. We demand that the Brazilian government promote, with urgency, in consultation and with the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples, a plan to regularize the indigenous lands in Brazil, with the proactive participation of the Public Federal Ministry, to ensure the compliance to the Federal Constitution of 1988, which recognizes the original right of Indigenous Peoples to our traditional lands and in accordance with the ILO Convention 169.

Due to the absence of the Brazilian state in establishing a dialogue, we request to the United Nations Organization a visit from the UN Special Rapporteur for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to Brazil, with a special attention the South and Central West regions, as a matter of urgency and the presentation of a report about the conflicts following the violations of human rights due to the delays in land demarcation processes in indigenous lands to the next session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the International Amnesty.

The Rio+20 final document is entitled “The future we want” and its paragraph 49 mentions the importance of the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples for sustainable development! Brazil intends to be one of the greatest economies in the world: but where are the indigenous peoples in the projects for the future of Brazil? What kind of future will we have if the indigenous lands are the condition for our physical and cultural survival?

Our leaders, our people and organizations have submitted documents, have also conducted pacific manifestations, have traveled to Brasilia searching for solutions for these conflicts and have always received empty promises that were never fulfilled! Our leaders have been murdered and the medias do not even report these daily homicides against indigenous peoples, while the responsibles are not punished.

Thus, this manifestation is a cry for help, to the urgent inquiry to human rights violations and the immediate implementation of the appropriate measures: judicial and administrative in favor of the survival and the future of our Peoples.

“As long as we are alive, we will fight for our lands!”
(Chief Raoni Metuktire Kayapó).

Original blog post Personal Escritor