Newsletter n. 856: Supreme Court confirms land demarcation of Raposa Serra do Sol

  • Supreme Court confirms land demarcation of Raposa Serra do Sol

  • Lula discusses hydroelectric project of Belo Monte (PA) with Dom Erwin




Supreme Court confirms land demarcation of Raposa Serra do Sol


After 34 years of struggle by the indigenous peoples and 4 days in judgment, the Supremo Tribunal Federal (STF- Supreme Court) confirmed, yesterday, March 19, the validity of the confirmation of the indigenous land Raposa Serra do Sol, in Roraima, questioned by senators and by the state of Roraima and by rice growers who occupy the land. The removal of the illegal occupants will be the responsibility of the judiciary, by means of the minister-reporter of the case, Carlos Ayres Britto.


By 10 votes to 1, the ministers considered correct the administrative proceeding that resulted, in 2005, in the confirmation of 1.7 million hectares as indigenous land, where there live approximately 18 thousand persons of the Ingarikó, Makuxi, Taurepang, Patamona and Wapichana peoples.


The only dissenting vote was that of minister Marco Aurélio de Mello. On December 10 of 2008, in the second session of the judgment, after eight ministers had already voted for sustaining the confirmation, Mello requested review of the process. On day 18 of March, when the STF resumed judgment, Mello read for circa seven hours his repetitive vote, permeated by long citations from newspaper articles. Afterward, Celso de Mello voted for sustaining the confirmation. On day 19, minister Gilmar Mendes also voted in favor of confirmation of the land.


After proclaiming the result, the approximately 30 indigenous people accompanying the judgment commemorated the victory in the Praça dos Três Poderes. “We lost many relatives who were murdered during these years of struggle, but today, they are here celebrating with us”, leader Júlio Makuxi emotionally declared.


Yesterday’s result (March 19) cancelled the provisional decision of April 2008 that suspended the operation by Federal Police of extrusion of the non-indian occupants from the land. However, the responsibility for removal of the invaders ceased being that of the Executive and was passed to the Judiciary, under the coordination of the TRF 1 (Regional Federal Tribunal 1) and of Minister Ayres Britto.


Minister Ricardo Lewandoski reminded repeated times that the STF decided on the immediate removal of the occupants and that the decision of the tribunal cannot be tergiversated.



Yesterday, in addition to the decision on the demarcation of Raposa Serra do Sol, the ministers of the STF established 19 conditions to the demarcation of any indigenous land in the country. In the evaluation by CIMI, the normatization established by the STF, “needs to be understood in a context of a restriction on rights of the indigenous peoples, of traditional populations, of campesinatos and others, in favor of the expansion of the interest of private capital in the field. In the face of this, CIMI alerts regarding the risks that the restriction of rights can entail, like the provocation of conflicts by reason of legitimate defense of land possession by peoples and indigenous communities.


The conditions were proposed in the vote of minister Menezes Direto, on December 10. On the 18th, Celso de Mello raised another condition. The reporter Ayres Britto concurred with the conditions, except with that which impedes the revision of limits of indigenous lands. Agreeing with Britto are the ministers Eros Grau and Carmen Lúcia. The other ministers approved all the conditions, except minister Joaquim Barbosa who did not agree with any. To Barbosa, the content of the conditions was not discussed in the action.






Yesterday, March 19, president Lula Inácio da Silva met with the Bishop of the Xingu Prelature and president of CIMI, Dom Erwin Kräutler, to deal with the construction project of the Belo Monte hydroelectric plant, on the Xingu river, near Altamira, seat of the Prelature. Lula conceded to listen to the local communities on the impacts that the works will bring to the region.


In the meeting, Dom Erwin warned that if the work was executed in the form as anticipated, in a few years irreversible socio-environmental damage would be seen in the region of the Xingu river – “which certainly is not your desire”, the bishop said to the president. According to Dom Erwin, the technicians of Electrobrás and of Eletronorte (companies involved in the construction of the work) only present the positive aspects to the communities that the hydroelectric plant will have, as if there will not be substantial negative impacts, like the flooding of indigenous territories and river dwelling communities, in addition to increased migration to the cities of the region without adequate infrastructure, among others.


Dom Erwin asked that, apart from deciding whether or not to stop the work, the communities are going to be heard. Lula promised to receive a group of residents from the region in a future meeting that could be held in Pará or in Brasília. The bishop departed confident that Lula will fulfill his promise.



During his trip to Brasilia, the bishop of the Xingu also was honored by the embassy of Austria, his native land, on March 18. He received from the Ambassador of Austria, Hans-Peter Glanzer, the Grand Decoration of Honour in Gold with Star of the Order of Merit for services rendered to the Republic of Austria. This important decoration was conceded to the Bishop by the President of the Republic of Austria for the work of a life in defense of the indigenous peoples and preservation of their territory.


Participating in the ceremony, the apostolic nuncio, Dom Lorenzo Baldisseri, the secretary general of the CNBB, Dom Dimas Lara, the federal deputy Perpetua Almeida (PC of B-AC), in addition to representatives of the embassy, of CIMI, of the Special Secretary for Human Rights and the Commission on Justice and Peace.


Brasília, 20 de março de 2009

Cimi – Conselho Indigenista Missionário


Fonte: Cimi
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