BRASILIA – Activists of the Greenpeace organization and Amazon Indian groups protested in Brasilia this Tuesday against delays by the Michel Temer government in establishing indigenous land rights in that region of the country.
The protest was called by members of the Munduruku ethnicity that live in the Amazon states of Amazonas, Mato Grosso and Para, and who were joined by Greenpeace activists who also criticized the government for not moving ahead with the process of demarcating lands which, they say, “the native peoples defend from depredation.”
The demonstration was part of the activities scheduled for this week by hundreds of Indians who arrived in Brasilia this Monday and camped out on a downtown street of the capital.
The Terra Livre camp has been set up every year since 2003 during the National Mobilization Week of Indigenous Peoples, which this year is chiefly focused on complaints about the bureaucratic roadblocks impeding the establishment of official boundaries for Indian lands.
In Brazil there are some 600 Indian reservations, but hundreds of other areas claimed by different tribes have never been duly demarcated, which the Indians themselves and human rights organizations have denounced as a contributing factor to violence in the countryside.
According to a report released last week by the Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), an organization associated with the Catholic Church, 70 deaths were recorded around the country in 2017 related to conflicts over land, a number 15 percent higher than in 2016 (61) and the most in the past 14 years.
The study noted that the great majority of victims were farm workers, landless country folk, Indians, descendents of fugitive slaves, settlers and fishermen.
It also warned that the number could increase if authorities confirm a massacre of 10 Indians isolated from civilization that occurred between July and August 2017 in the Javari Valley of Amazonas state, which was reported by indigenous groups and is still under investigation.