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Court Rules Brazil’s Guarani Indians Can Stay on Reoccupied Lands

The Guarani-Nhandeva indigenous people, who have faced the threat of being evicted from their reoccupied lands in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul for over a year and a half, finally managed to have a repossession request filed by invading farmers suspended.

According to a decision made by the reporting judge of the TRF (Federal Court of Appeals) of the 3rd Region in São Paulo, André Nabarrete, the Guarani people can stay in the areas which today are occupied by the Remanso-Guassu, Paloma and Pedra Branca farms until a decision is made by the Higher Court of Justice.


The Higher Court will examine the validity of an administrative ruling issued by the ministry of Justice declaring that the land in question is an indigenous land and determining that Funai should demarcate it. The validity of the administrative ruling is being challenged by the farmers through a court injunction and this lawsuit is scheduled to be judged by the Supreme Court on September 14.


In his decision, the judge considered that removing the indigenous people from 10% of the three farms, which cover almost 4,000 hectares, would be like betting on violence. An action of the Federal Police could cause unnecessary deaths or victims.


The decision of the judge was based on documents of the Ministry of Health which confirm that the indigenous people live off this land and that their livelihood depends on it, as well as their customs, rites and symbols.


The Yvy Katu land was identified by Funai with 9,454 hectares. However, before the administrative procedure for demarcating it was completed, the 3,800 Guarani-Nhandeva who were confined to 1,648 hectares began in 2004 to reoccupy their lands, which were invaded by 14 farms.


Human Rights


After violent reactions from farmers in the region of Santa Helena de Minas, state of Minas Gerais, against the reoccupation action carried out by the Maxakali people, the Human Rights Committee of the Chamber of Representatives will be visiting the region to check the situation of the Maxakali and hear first-hand reports of the threats being made against the indigenous people and Cimi (Indianist Missionary Council) missionaries who were expelled from the city by farmers


Representatives Leonardo Mattos (Green Party-Minas Gerais) and Leonardo Monteiro (Workers’ Party-Minas Gerais), reverend Omar Klich, from the Human Rights Subsecretariat, and Valdemar Krenak, manager of the National Foundation for Indigenous People in the region, are included among the visitors.


Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe


The Legislative Assembly of the State of Bahia held a Special Session on September 5 to discuss the demarcation of Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe lands located in the south region of that state.


During the Session, the Parliamentarian Front in Defense of the Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe people was launched. The parliamentarians will take action to sensitize the judges of the Supreme Court for them to finally judge a lawsuit requesting that title deeds to lands located inside an indigenous land traditionally occupied by the Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe be rendered null.


The title deeds in question were illegally granted by the state of Bahia to cattle raisers and cacao farmers and they prevent the indigenous people from exercising their right to occupy the land and cause conflicts frequently.


“The action taken by the Legislative Assembly of Bahia to deal with this issue is important because it involves a historical fact: it was through a normative act passed by the Legislative Assembly in 1926, which resulted in State Law 1916, that a territorial space began to be ensured to the Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe.


“That law determined that 50 square leagues were to be reserved for the Pataxó and Tupinambá people and for forest reserves. This is what ensures the legitimacy of the action taken by parliamentarians from the state of Bahia to press for a definitive solution to the conflict,” said Cimi lawyer Paulo Machado Guimarães, who attended the Special Session.


The session was attended by eight state representatives, 42 Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe leaders and leaders from the Association of Indigenous Peoples from the Northeast region, Minas Gerais and Espí­rito Santo (Apoinme).


The Session was also attended by representatives of indigenous organizations from Bahia and students of public schools of Salvador, the capital city of the state.


Cimi – Indianist Missionary Council – www.cimi.org.br

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