240 Indians Murdered in Brazil in Last 10 Years

With the murder of Dorvalino Rocha, a Guarani Kaiowá leader from the Nhande Ru Marangatu land, who was killed on December 24 by men hired as security guards of the Fronteira farm, located in the municipality of Antonio João (state of Mato Grosso, Brazil), 2005 ended with 38 indigenous people murdered.

This is the highest number of murders if Indians in the last ten years, according to surveys carried out by the Brazil’s Indianist Missionary Council (Cimi).

Mato Grosso do Sul is the Brazilian State where the highest number of murders was registered, namely, 28. The total figure in the last ten years hit the mark of 240 murders, an average of over 24 indigenous people killed every year.

In its surveys on violence, Cimi uses information collected by its missionaries and news published in the press.

Cimi believes that the sluggishness of the State to recognize and protect indigenous lands is one of the main causes of the murders.

In the third year of the administration of Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, unfavorable figures were registered with respect to the amount of lands declared as indigenous lands, that is, which had an administrative ruling published for this purpose by the ministry of Justice in the Diário Oficial (Official Gazette).

Only five lands were declared as indigenous lands, meaning that, in average, six lands were declared as such a year during the Lula administration, a figure below the annual average registered during the administrations of Fernando Collor/Itamar Franco (average of 16 lands a year), Fernando Henrique Cardoso (average of 11 lands) and João Baptista Figueiredo (average of 8 lands).

If demarcations continue at this pace, the Brazilian State will take at least 45 years to recognize all indigenous lands in the country and review the bounds of those whose size is being questioned by indigenous peoples.

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

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