Brazilian Indian Leaders Go to Brasí­lia Looking for Justice

Four leaders of the Tupinikim and Guarani peoples, who live in the southeastern state of EspÀ­rito Santo, arrived in BrasÀ­lia, capital of Brazil, on October 19, to hold meetings at the Ministry of Justice and the Federal Prosecutor’s Office.

At the Ministry of Justice, the Indians were informed by its legal advisory department that the technical report, which must be prepared by the legal advisors of the ministry, was not ready yet and, therefore, had not been submitted to the minister of Justice.

The person in charge for such reports at the ministry, Luciana Schettini, said that this case is one of the priorities of the Ministry of Justice. The legal deadline for the minister of Justice to make a decision in relation to the report identifying the land expired on October 12.

The Federal Prosecutor’s Office, through the deputy attorney in charge of matters related to the state of Espí­rito Santo, Dr. Eugênio Aragão, agreed with the opinion of the indigenous people that the advertising actions of the Aracruz corporation have discriminatory and racist contents and that the accusations made against them should ensure to the indigenous people the right to respond.

Vicente Cañas Case

The trial of three of the six defendants accused of murdering the Jesuit missionary Vicente Cañas is scheduled to begin on October 24. The jury trial will be held in Cuiabá, capital of the state of Mato Grosso.

This week, Brazil’s Indianist Missionary Council (Cimi) sent a request to people and organizations who support the indigenous cause, to send letters to the Public Prosecutor’s Office and the media, stressing the importance of the case in the struggle against impunity, which has prevailed for 19 years in this case. The crime can expire in less than one year.

Vicente Cañas was killed in 1987 because of his fight for the demarcation of the Enawenê-Nawê land and work to ensure health care to these people. According to Cimi, the result of the trial can represent a huge advance in the struggle against impunity.

He was a member of a pioneering group of missionaries who made a big change in the way missionaries work with indigenous people by opting for living with them and truly hearing what they have to say, taking part in their daily activities, showing solidarity and respect for them and respecting their religious beliefs, in short, becoming one of them.

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