Brazilian Indians Dealt Setback by Government

The Itaty indigenous land, which is more known as the Morro dos Cavalos land, located in the municipality of Palhoça, state of Santa Catarina, in the south of Brazil, suffered another hard blow.

After two years of official reports in favor of its demarcation, but without any administrative ruling defining its bounds issued by the ministry of Justice (MJ), the substitute legal advisor to the ministry, Cristiane Schneider Calderon, returned the documents related to the procedure to Funai and determined that a new anthropological report should be prepared.

In making this decision, the legal advisory department of the ministry ended up meeting the interests of certain groups of Santa Catarina – among which groups linked to the government of the state – which are against the demarcation of indigenous lands.

Funai, which had approved a report identifying and delimiting the land in 2002, sent an expert to the area to prepare the new report in July 2006.

The attitude of the legal advisory department of the Ministry of Justice and Funai clearly defies the rights of indigenous peoples. The decision defies the Brazilian law.

According to decree 1775/96, which regulates administrative procedures for demarcating indigenous lands, these procedures can only be contested from the moment the land identification activities begin up to 90 days after the official recognition of an indigenous land by Funai, when a summary of the respective report is published in the Federal Official Gazette and Official Gazette of the state in question. In the case of the Morro dos Cavalos land, the deadline for such action was April 2003.

In the opinion of Cimi (Indianist Missionary Council) the decision to return the demarcation documents to Funai for it to review the studies after the legal deadline reveals full disregard for legal rules and for the rights of indigenous peoples.

With the aim of showing to the National Foundation for Indigenous People that these acts cannot be tolerated, Cimi launched a campaign for e-mails against them to be sent to the minister of Justice, Márcio Thomaz Bastos, to the Legal Consultant of the ministry, Dr. Lúcia de Toledo Piza Peluso, and to the president of Funai, Mércio Pereira Gomes.

The campaign asks Funai to respect the law and to return the document to the ministry of Justice, because in this phase of the demarcation of the land there is no justification to review all the study which identifies it as an indigenous land.

Cimi

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