Brazilian Congress Creates Committee to Deal with Indian Issues

During a joint session held last week, Brazil’s National Congress approved the creation of a Special Temporary Joint Committee to "study, discuss and propose mechanisms for promoting the social inclusion and citizenship rights of indigenous peoples."

The committee, which will be made up of 11 House representatives and 11 senators, will have a deadline of 249 days to conclude its activities.

The representatives and senators making up the committee will consult governors, mayors, ministers and experts, hold public audiences, and visit different locations in the country to know the claims of indigenous people and other sectors of society.

The National Congress set up the committee as a result of pressures from the Land Free demonstrations, which gathered 550 indigenous people in a camp set up at the Esplanada dos Ministérios square in Brasí­lia early in April.

The indigenous people met the president of the Senate, Renan Calheiros (Brazilian Democratic Movement Party – state of Alagoas) and the president of the Chamber of Representatives, Aldo Rebelo (Communist Party of Brazil – state of São Paulo) and asked them to hear what indigenous communities and organizations have to say about bills affecting them.

Rebelo had proposed the creation of a Permanent Committee in the Chamber of Representatives and after a meeting held on the following day, April 6, with the president of the Senate, the proposal to set up the Joint Committee was defined. 

This was the Committee that was set up. Senator Paulo Paim (Workers’ Party – state of Rio Grande do Sul) was the congressperson who submitted the request for setting up the committee that was passed in a plenary session.

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

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