Guarani Kaiowá people may be EVICTED from homologated land
by Cimi -Indianist Missionary Council
The Guarani Kaiowá people who live in the Nhanderu Marangatu indigenous land were informed yesterday, the 7th, in the afternoon about a decision made by the Regional Federal Court of the 3rd Region, São Paulo, in favor of a repossession lawsuit filed by the owners of the Ita Brasília and Pequiri Santa Creuza farms. Following the judicial decision, the Federal Police announced that ithey will evict the Guarani Kaiowá people from the land next Saturday, the 10th.
The farms are fully or partially located inside the indigenous land, whose bounds were officially confirmed by president Luís Inácio Lula da Silva on March 28 of this year. The official confirmation of the bounds of indigenous lands is the final step in the process of demarcating these lands.
When they were informed about the repossession, the leaders of the Guarani Kaiowá people, who thought that they had won the right to stay in the land definitively, were puzzled. "This is like being shot, but we will not leave. This land is ours, and this fact has been officially recognized, and nobody will make us leave while we are alive," one of the leaders said.
The Indianist Missionary Council (Cimi)has been following the long history of reoccupation of the the Guarani Kaiowá traditional land. Over the years, these people have heroically resisted and suffered the death of many of their leaders, such as Marçal de Souza Tupã i, who was killed in November 1983.
Cimi is once again joining the plea of hundreds of Guarani Kaiowá who are threatened in their sacred right to live in their own land and calls on all those who want to build a plural world based on justice and respect for all peoples and cultures to join us in solidarity and support.
UN hears reports from movements on threats against supporters of indigenous rights. The UN rapporteur for human rights, Hina Jilani, is in Brazil to become more acquainted with the situation of people who are threatened because of their defense of human rights. Jilani was in Brasília on Tuesday, the 8th, where she met with representatives of social movements to hear what they had to say on this subject. She will also be visiting the state of Pará, where the people accused of killing Sister Dorothy Stang will stand trial tomorrow (the 9th), and the Campos Novos power plant in the state of Santa Catarina, where she will collect more information about the criminalization of the population affected by the dam. The rapporteur will also visit the land of the Truká people in Cabrobó, state of Pernambuco, where two indigenous people were murdered by police officers on June 30 of this year. Hina Jilani will return to Brasília on December 20 to present a preliminary report to the Brazilian Government.
In Brasília, Jilani heard reports from people linked to the movement of community radio stations, the Homeless Moviment and peasant movements and from Cimi, which reported to her six cases of threats against indigenous people and missionaries. "There are many cases of violence against indigenous communities, the people living in those communities and non-indigenous people working in the communities, such as Cimi missionaries," said Saulo Feitosa, vice president of the organization. According to him, the threats are consequences of land conflicts and disputes for the riches contained in indigenous territories, such as mineral resources, timber or water. The threats and acts of aggression come from private individuals or public authorities, who act through public security agents, as observed in the case of murders occurred in Pernambuco, or who fail to demarcate and inspect indigenous lands, thereby generating violence.
The characteristics of these threats are similar to those reported by the peasant movement. In the case of the homeless movement, the acts of violence committed by police officers which were reported by its members also resulted from a violent action to remove its militants from a lot that they had occupied in the West Industrial Park in the city of Goiania. After being expelled from that area, the homeless were subjected to humiliating situations and were kept in a shelter without any hygienic conditions where 14 of them died, including children.
Cimi reported that about 48 uncontacted indigenous peoples are being forced to run away from woodcutters and land grabbers who repeatedly invade their lands. This situation was reported in the Rio Pardo land in the state of Mato Grosso, where invaders got very near close to these indigenous people, who can be exterminated. In this region of Mato Grosso, the municipal and state administrations usually support the activities of woodcutters. A week ago, 20 people who have been exploiting the indigenous land for five years were arrested by the Federal Police.
Cimi also reported to the rapporteur the threats received by 10 leaders of the Guajajara people in the Bacurizinho land in the state of Maranhão. The chief of these people was killed and two other people were shot after their land was invaded by farmers on May 21, 2005. After these deaths, the threats continued.
Mention was also made of threats from rice farmers against indigenous people in the Raposa Serra do Sol land, where a school, a church and a hospital, which were part of the training center of the Surumœ mission, were burned down in September of this year. During the fire, young people who were sleeping in the school were beaten.
The Terena people from the Cachoeirinha land in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul were also threatened after they reoccupied their lands on October 28. This week, those people sent a letter to the ministry of Justice and to the Federal Prosecutor's Office reporting that the threats are "made by phone or through direct messages." "The reoccupied area is a traditional land that is indispensable to our survival, because it has the natural resources that we need, such as the Kai'Koe stream, from where we get fish to feed our families and water for our community." They also reported the long time it is taking for the competent authorities to demarcate their land, forcing them to do things such as carrying out reoccupation actions. "We know that the demarcation process(…)is being postponed by the ministry of Justice and Funai by completely unnecessary procedures, which are used to justify the delay to publish the administrative ruling defining the bounds of the land," they said in the letter.
"The Brazilian Government is directly responsible for the threats against people who defend human rights, because it has not been assuming the responsibility to demarcate the lands," said Saulo Feitosa. He reported that the Forum in Defense of Indigenous Rights has data which indicate that there are 445 lands to be demarcated. "If the current pace of the demarcations continues, we will see another 45 years of violence against indigenous people before their lands are demarcated."