Brazil Indian’s Statute Unshelved in Congress 14 Years Later

Brazilian Indians It took over 14 years and a lot of pressure of Brazil's indigenous movement, but finally the Câmara dos Deputados (Brazilian House of Representatives) resumed the legislative process for the Statute of the Indigenous Peoples.

It was the approval of Recurso (appeal) No. 182 that finally unlocked the lawmaking process again. This Recurso had been presented on December 6, 1994, after a previous Recurso had locked it – causing the Statute to disappear way down in the drawers of the parliamentarians.

Now the leadership of the Câmara can set the calendar for debates on what is formally knows as Bill (Projeto de Lei) 2057/91.

The president of the Câmara, Deputy Michael Temer, announced the news during a meeting with the representatives of the National Commission of Indigenist Policy (CNPI-Comissão Nacional de Polí­tica Indigenista).

Over the last few years the CNPI has worked to create a new, modernized proposal for the Statute, involving intensive nationwide discussion among the over 220 different indigenous peoples in Brazil.

The final result was approved off by over 1000 indigenous leaders in May, 2009 and is also supported by various organisms of the federal government that take part in the CNPI.

On August 6, the Minister of Justice, Tarso Genro and Márcio Meira, the president of the National Foundation of Indigenous Affairs (Funai- Fundação Nacional do índio) delivered the proposal to Temer.

Now the Bill joins the original proposals of the Indigenous Statute, as an amendment. The indigenous peoples press for analysis and approval of this and other amendments by a special commission composed of deputies that are familiar with indigenous matters.

"There are many proposals discussed in parliament that are bad for the indigenous. For that reason I hope that you look at this statute, because it was created by us, indigenous", the Kayapó leader Akyaboro stressed.

The president of the Câmara noted that the parliament is a space for debates, therefore there would be divergences, but affirmed that, "this Statute will only be born if the indigenous peoples are in agreement over it."

Anastácio Peralta, Guarani Kaiowá, emphasized that the Statute would serve as parameter for relations of the federal government, states and municipalities with the indigenous peoples. It would eliminate the uncertainties that exist today and improve the execution of public policies.

"We, the indigenous appear a lot in the negative discussion, for example about suicide, assassination of indigenous… Now we want to appear as participating in the creation of this law, showing the legislators co-operating with us."

Cimi

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