aljazeera.com
News|Indigenous Rights
Brazil’s top court shelves Indigenous land case, no new date set
Indigenous groups say Brazilian Supreme Court decision will be critical as they seek to defend ancestral land rights.
The high-profile case was suspended on Wednesday after one of the Supreme Court justices asked for more time [Adriano Machado/Reuters]
15 Sep 2021
Brazil’s Supreme Court on Wednesday suspended a high-profile land rights case that Indigenous people in the South American nation say is vital for their survival, with no new date for when it will revisit the matter.
The top court is weighing whether a state government applied an overly narrow interpretation of Indigenous rights by only recognising tribal lands occupied by Indigenous communities at the time Brazil’s constitution was ratified in 1988.
Indigenous rights groups say the rule was unconstitutional because there was no timeframe in the 1988 constitution, which guaranteed the right to ancestral lands.
The case was suspended after one of the justices, Alexandre De Moraes, asked for more time.
As things stand, two members of the 11-member court have ruled so far, with one justice in favour of a cut-off date for land claims, while another has voted to end the timeframe.
A defeat in court for the Indigenous people would set a precedent for the rollback of native rights that President Jair Bolsonaro has sought [Adriano Machado/Reuters]
The government of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro draws support from the agricultural sector, which broadly defends the timeframe. It argues the time framework gave legal security to farmers, many of whom have lived for decades on land once inhabited by Indigenous people.
Protected Indigenous lands offer a bulwark against deforestation in the Amazon, advocates say.
Critics also say a defeat in court for the Indigenous people would set a precedent for the rollback of rights that Bolsonaro has sought with the backing of powerful farming interests.
Lawyers for the Indigenous people, who today number some 850,000 in Brazil, say the constitution that set in stone their rights to ancestral lands makes no mention of a time framework.
Their ancestors were driven off their hunting grounds when European settlers began to arrive centuries ago, or were expelled from coveted farmland more recently, but before the 1988 cutoff.
Families of white farmers in many cases have lived for decades on land now claimed by Indigenous communities, and even hold title in some cases showing they bought it from the state.
“If the Supreme Court doesn’t maintain the 1988 timeframe … it will kill agribusiness in Brazil, there will be no incentive to invest in agriculture,” Bolsonaro said recently.
SOURCE: REUTERS
RELATED
Brazil’s Bolsonaro to meet with truckers amid road blockades
Truckers are halting traffic on several Brazilian highways in support of Bolsonaro, despite his pleading them to stop.
9 Sep 2021
Brazil’s Amazon deforestation remains high despite slight fall
August deforestation was lower than last year, but rates remain much higher than before Bolsonaro took office.
10 Sep 2021
From: The Stream
Has Brazil’s Amazon reached a point of no return?
Rampant deforestation and growth in agribusiness are changing the nature of the Amazon.
13 Sep 2021
MORE FROM NEWS
US stocks set more all-time highs
Canada’s Justin Trudeau unveils new cabinet
UN warns of climate ‘catastrophe’ with ‘weak’ emission-cut vows
Most Poles think Warsaw should give ground in EU dispute: Survey
MOST READ
South Africa cricketer pulls out of team after order to take knee
Sudan’s army says it toppled gov’t to avoid civil war
Police arrest 150 people globally in dark web sting: Europol
Kashmir students who cheered for Pakistan booked under terror law
Follow Al Jazeera English:
© 2021 Al Jazeera Media Network