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Dialogue Is Dead, Say Brazilian Indians

Sluggish, aligned with contrary interests, and marked by inaction. These were some of the expressions used by Coiab and Apoinme  to describe the Brazilian official indigenous policy in a Manifesto Against the Indigenous Policy of the Lula Administration.

Coiab is the Coordinating Board of the Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon and Apoinme is the Association of Indigenous Peoples and Organizations of the Northeast, Minas Gerais and Espí­rito Santo.


The recently-released manifesto denounces the increasing violation of indigenous rights in Brazil. In the document, various cases of violations of rights registered during the first 18 months of the Lula administration are listed.


Among them, mention is made of unfulfilled campaign promises, such as the official confirmation of the bounds of the Raposa/Serra do Sol indigenous land as a continuous strip, and unconstitutional decisions taken by the present federal administration, such as the one to reduce the size of the Baú land of the Kayapó people in the state of Pará.


The organizations also criticized the plans of the federal administration to militarize the indigenous policy.


“Contradicting the expectations of indigenous peoples and organizations, the Government militarized the federal indigenous policy by transferring the responsibility for formulating it to the Institutional Safety Office,” the manifesto says.


In the text, the organizations say that the dialogue between the indigenous movement and the federal administration came to a standstill.


In practice, the Lula administration stopped dialoguing with indigenous peoples and organizations, so much so that the president of the federal agency in charge of indigenous affairs, the National Indigenous Foundation (Funai), Mércio Pereira Gomes, said that he does not recognize indigenous organizations as interlocutors.


In this context, the so-called “Dialogue Table” set up during an audience granted by the President of the Republic on May 10 does not exist anymore.


Actually, the sluggishness and neglect of the Government in relation to indigenous rights have favored the growth and strengthened the actions of sectors and parliamentarians who oppose indigenous rights inside and outside the National Congress, who are interested in eliminating rights enshrined in the Federal Constitution of 1988.


Finally, Coiab and Apoinme called on other indigenous organizations and supporters of the indigenous cause and human rights to demand from the government “a conduct in tune with the commitments it professed for over two decades in relation to indigenous peoples and organizations in Brazil.”


The full document is available at the Cimi website (www.cimi.org.br).


Cimi – Indianist Missionary Council

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