Brazilian Indian Women Raped While Waiting to Get Land Back

Guarani Indian children in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil Two old Indian women from the Guarani people, in Brazil, were raped by security guards who work for a farm that is encroaching on the Nhanderu Marangatu land, near the municipality of Antônio João in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

Since 2005, when the Brazilian Supreme Federal Court (STF) suspended the effects of the official confirmation of the bounds of the land and as a result the Guarani people were displaced, the tension between indigenous people and security guards has been a constant issue.

After six months living in a road bordering the land, on August 2005, the Guarani families returned to a 100-hectare area for the road to be paved. The farmer accepted the return of the indigenous people, but he maintains a large number of security guards watching the rest of the land.

According to Guarani leader Léia Aquino, the women were raped when they were collecting firewood in the area where the families are living. The husband of one of the victims was beaten as he tried to defend his wife. Other acts of violence and threats have been registered recently.

"Without firewood we can't cook, and as result our children are not fed. The situation is getting harder since the beginning of October. We have already reported what happened, but Funai has not sent any official here so far," explains Léia, who is worried about this situation.

The reports were referred to the Federal Prosecutor's Office in the municipality of Ponta Porã, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

During the last Guarani Aty Guasu (assembly) held from October 26 to October 28 in the Sombrerito village, leaders from the Marangatu land stressed the fact that they are virtually prevented from living in the area for all practical purposes.

They reaffirmed that, in order to solve this issue, the Supreme Federal Court should decide in favor of the official confirmation of the bounds of the area for the invaders to be removed from the land and for the indigenous people to be able to live in it.

The Nhanderu Marangatu indigenous territory was confirmed by Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on March 23, 2005, and it covers 9,316 hectares.

On July 2005, the then chief justice of the Supreme Federal Court, Nelson Jobim, decided to suspend the effects of the official confirmation of the bounds of the land through temporary restraining orders.

Through an injunction, the farmers requested the Supreme Federal Court to suspend the effects of the official confirmation of the bounds of the land until a process for interrupting the land demarcation, which is now being judged by a federal court in the municipality of Ponta Porã, is concluded.

On December 15, 2005, over 200 heavily armed Federal Police officers using helicopters evicted about 700 indigenous people from a 500-hectare area. They set up a camp on a road next to the land and stayed there for six months.

Since they were evicted, the Guarani people have been asking the Supreme Federal Court to judge the grounds of the injunction and to ensure the indigenous people's right to the official confirmation of the bounds of their land.

Justice Cezar Peluzzo is the rapporteur of the case. As a result of this conflict, security guards from the Gaspem company, who were hired by the farmer, killed the Guarani leader Dorvalino Rocha on December 24, 2005.

Cimi

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