Legislative proposal approved threatens indigenous peoples and destroys the environment

The Commission of Constitution and Justice of brazilian government approved the law 490/2017, which establishes very serious attacks on native peoples and the environment in the country.

Although the text is unconstitutional, with a score of 40 votes in favour and 21 against the project was approved. The matter will now be put to a vote in the plenary session of the House of Representatives.

The project is an aberration that regulates absurd attacks on indigenous peoples, besides allowing an unprecedented environmental devastation.

One of the main points of the text is the creation of the so-called “temporal landmark”, which restricts the right of indigenous peoples to their territories, by establishing that indigenous communities only have the right to lands with recognised possession until the Constitution of 1988.

The matter is so serious that if this thesis is accepted, it will affect even those peoples who have demarcation processes underway, including demarcations that have already been carried out and that did not take this thesis into account.

The text also transfers the prerogative of demarcating indigenous lands from the Executive to the Legislative. In other words, the question ceases to be a policy of the State and is now defined by the Congress, currently dominated by the ruralist bench and at the service of the private interests of mining companies, logging companies, agribusiness and others.

And as if all this were not enough, legislative proposal 490 releases the exploitation of indigenous lands for mining activities, construction of hydroelectric dams, roads, and other economic activities.

Movements and experts say that, in practice, it will lead to the deepening of indigenous genocide, land invasion and violence, in addition to deforestation and environmental destruction.

“A death sentence” to indigenous peoples, already declared the indigenous Kunã Yporã (Raquel Tremembé), member of the National Executive Secretariat of CSP-Conlutas, when referring to this proposal. “An ethnocide that aims to decimate our peoples, culture and ancestry. A true historical erasure”, he stated.

Also according to Kunâ Yporã, the temporal mark denies the rights of several peoples who had their lands usurped, squatted and were expelled from their wellbeing and were not in possession of the territories when the Federal Constitution of 1988 was promulgated. After all, there have been centuries of violence, oppression and exploitation of the native peoples.

“If it has already been difficult to demarcate indigenous lands in Brazil, the advent of the Temporal Framework will mean the definitive difficulty in the demarcation process, especially for isolated peoples,” he said.

Under Bolsonaro’s government, in addition to the constant verbal and prejudiced attacks on the human rights of indigenous people, as well as encouraging invasion and violence against these peoples, measures to dismantle organs of environmental inspection and protection are constant, such as against Ibama and Funai, in addition to the freezing of the demarcation of indigenous lands.

The struggle continues

The indigenous peoples are still fighting to stop this harmful project, as well as other attacks of the Bolsonaro government.

Around 850 indigenous people, from 48 different peoples from all regions of Brazil, participate in the Acampamento Levante da Terra (ALT), which has been set up next to the National Theatre in Brasilia for three weeks, to protest against the anti-indigenous agenda of the government and Congress, and to follow the trial at the STF that is due to judge the extraordinary appeal with general repercussion RE-RG 1.017.365. This is a request for review of a decision of a repossession suit of 2009, of an area occupied by Guarani and Kaingang, in Santa Catarina, which questions the thesis of the temporal limit. The trial is scheduled for June 30.

They are all vaccinated and following sanitary protocols (distance, use of mask and constant hand hygiene).

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