Brazilian Indians Demand Inquiry on Police Violence

Tupinambá Indians in Bahia state, Brazil In a massive display of solidarity about 130 representatives of 21 indigenous people in the Brazilian states of Bahia, Minas Gerais and EspÀ­rito Santo came to the village of Serra do Padeiro, Bahia. This in response to an attack by Brazil's federal police against that village belonging to the Tupinambá Indians.

The act happened after the Regional Reunion on the Indigenous People Statute in Ilhéus.

The participants sent out a motion that repudiates the police action that left ten indigenous of the Serra do Padeiro village injured by rubber bullets and that destroyed school transport vehicles, furniture of the local school, agricultural fields and houses, among other things.

They equally repudiated the decision of the Federal Court that determined the evacuation of the Tupinambá of their villages, as to comply with the reintegration order. The attempt of the federal police to evacuate the indigenous ended in a violent raid.

The indigenous demanded an immediate police inquiry to corroborate the claims of torture, abuse of authority, damage of public and private patrimony and robbery by police officers during the raid.

They also demand that the absence of authority of the Federal Court of Bahia and of the Federal Ministry be evaluated.

They equally solicited that the National Council of Justice determine regulations to avoid violations of human rights when court orders are carried out, also in territories occupied by indigenous communities in search of their recognition.

The two days workshop on the Federal Indigenous Statute had specifically addressed the way the police act in indigenous territories. In fact, various indigenous communities in Bahia encounter abuse by the police. The proposals resulting from this workshop will be handed over to National Committee on Indigenous Policy (CNPI).

This CNPI will gather all suggestions coming from the 10 regional workshops about the Statute. It is via the Committee that the indigenous people of Brazil will submit their proposal for the Indigenous Statute. Currently, the Law proposing the new Statute has been lingering in the national congress for 13 years now

Besides representatives of the indigenous people, also NGO's like CIMI (Indianist Missionary Council) and ANAI (National Association of Indian Support) participated in the workshops, as well as governmental organs like the Foundation for Indigenous Affairs, the ministries of Environment, Justice and Social Affairs development, and universities.

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