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Supreme Court reverses trial that nullified the demarcation of Indigenous Land Guyraroka

Guarani Kaiowá protest in front of the Supreme Court

Credit: Tiago Miotto/Cimi

8 Apr 21

Supreme Court reverses trial that nullified the demarcation of Indigenous Land Guyraroka

In a what was considered a victory by the Guarani Kaiowá people, the Supreme Court (STF) granted an appeal that seeks to reverse the annulment of the demarcation of the Guyraroka Indigenous Land (TI Guyraroka), in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul.

According to a note issued by the Indigenous Missionary Council (Cimi) on the decision, the case of the TI Guyraroka is emblematic in the struggle of indigenous peoples against the “Marco Temporal” [temporal landmark] – a thesis of the STF that hurts the indigenous right to land, by establishing that indigenous peoples would only have the right to the demarcation of the lands that they were already occupying on October 5,th 1988, the date on which the Brazilian Constitution was approved. In 2014, the demarcation of the Indigenous Land was annulled on the basis of the temporal landmark. Four years later, the Guarani Kaiowá people filed an appeal to annul the decision, whose trial was only resumed in March 2021 – the same trial that now received a favorable decision from the Court.

Federal Court closes investigation against voluntary fire fighters in Alter do Chão

Activists were accused of starting fires in the region in 2019

Credit: Brigada de Incêndio de Alter do Chão/Reproduction

18 Feb 21

Federal Court closes investigation against voluntary fire fighters in Alter do Chão

At the request of the Federal Public Prosecution (MPF), a Federal Court closed the investigation about the causes of the fires that occurred in September 2019 in the district of Alter do Chão, in Santarém (Pará state), which led to the unjustified arrest of four voluntary firefighters who worked in the region. According to a note from the MPF, there was an “impossibility of determining the authorship of the crime”. “We found that the fire originated in three different locations and reached an area of 1.2 thousand hectares, but we discovered no basic evidence that could lead to the authorship of the crime,” the text says.

In November 2019, following an investigation that pointed to NGOs as responsible for starting the fire, the Pará Civil Police carried out the preventive arrest of the four members of the Alter do Chão Fire Brigade, in addition to carrying out a search warrant at the headquarters of the NGO Saúde & Alegria Project, an organization recognized worldwide for its work in the Amazon. Back then, the civil society received with astonishment and indignation the news and mobilized to prove the activists’ innocence. 

Film about the Yanomami people will premiere at Berlin Film Festival

The movie will premiere in the second semester

Credit: “The Last Forest”/Reproduction

10 Feb 21

Film about the Yanomami people will premiere at Berlin Film Festival

“The Last Forest”, a film by Luiz Bolognesi, who co-wrote the screenplay with Davi Kopenawa Yanomami, writer, shaman and Yanomami leader, was selected for the 2021 Berlin Film Festival, one of the most important festivals in the world. The feature film portrays the struggle of isolated Yanomami indigenous against the mining invaders and its premiere in Brazil is scheduled for the second semester of 2021.

Bolognesi was awarded an honorable mention by the festival in 2018 for his documentary “Ex-Shaman”, about the life of the Paiter Suruí, inhabitants of the Sete de Setembro Indigenous Land in Rondônia state. Internationally recognized for his work in defense of indigenous rights, Kopenawa will make his debut at the Berlinale. 

Research shows that most Brazilians acknowledges the global warming and is concerned about the environment

Protest in defense of the Amazon in Rio de Janeiro in 2019

Credit: Renan Olivetti/Greenpeace

4 Feb 21

Research shows that most Brazilians acknowledges the global warming and is concerned about the environment

A survey carried out by Ibope, one of the most important research institutes in the country, indicates that most Brazilians recognize the existence of global warming (92%) and attribute it to human action (77%). 72% believe that the phenomenon can harm them and their families, and 88% affirm that it will cause great damage to future generations. The “Climate change in the perception of Brazilians” survey, commissioned by the Institute for Technology and Society (ITS) and Yale University, interviewed 2,600 people over the age of 18 in the five regions of Brazil, between September 24 and October 16, 2020.

The study also reveals that more than half of those interviewed are very concerned about the environment (61%), especially women (68%) and people who identify themselves as being politically in the left (70%). When asked about what would be more important, protecting the environment or promoting economic development, 77% of respondents answered the first option, even if it implies lower growth and job creation. Regarding the fires, which reached record levels in 2020, 77% of the people interviewed attribute the fires in the Amazon to human action, with loggers being pointed out as the main culprits (76%), followed by farmers (49&), cattle ranchers (48%) and gold miners (41%). Indigenous people, pointed out a few days before the beginning of the survey by President Jair Bolsonaro as being responsible for the forest fires, were mentioned by 8% of those interviewed, and NGOs, the target of constant attacks by the government, by 6%.

Ashaninka people reaches the end of 2020 without Covid-19 cases

Ancestral knowledge and community organization were crucial to prevent the spread of the illness

Credit: Arison Jardim/Apiwtxa Association

22 Dec 20

Ashaninka people reaches the end of 2020 without Covid-19 cases

Following strict social isolation and using their ancestral knowledge, the Ashaninka reached the end of 2020 without cases of Covid-19 in the villages of the Kampa Indigenous Land of the Amônia River in Acre State, in the Amazon region. According to the Special Indigenous Health District (Desei) of the Upper Juruá and Purus River, this is the only indigenous people in the state that remains free of the disease, reported the G1 portal.

Following the recommended security protocols, they vetoed any residents from leaving the villages and prohibited the entrance of visitors. Those who needed to solve pending issues outside the villages, such as going to the bank, have been assisted by a specific commission. Faced with the risk of shortages, the work in the fields and plantations has been intensified throughout the pandemic, resulting in a plentiful and diverse production of fruits, vegetables and greens. The purchase of groceries in the city near Marechal Thaumaturgo, such as salt, coffee, oil and sugar, is carried out by a group designated to make the order beforehand to the local traders.

The ancestors’ inheritance is considered by the Ashaninka of extreme importance for the success of Covid-19. The use of remedies extracted from plants and roots and the tradition of disposing the houses of the residents far from each other are some of the ancestral practices that, according to local leaders, helped the people to face past epidemics such as measles, mumps and flu.

“The Ashaninka people of the river Amônia have a consolidated social organization, and that represents very well the collective interest of the people,” states the leadership Francisco Piyãko in a testimony to the website Amazônia Real.

Folha de S. Paulo, one of the most read Brazilian newspapers, launches environmental monitor to track government actions

The tool accompanies the official government gazette

Credit: Handout/Monitor da Política Ambiental

17 Dec 20

Folha de S. Paulo, one of the most read Brazilian newspapers, launches environmental monitor to track government actions

The newspaper Folha de São Paulo, in partnership with the Política por Inteiro initiative, launched the Environmental Policy Monitor, a tool that gathers official acts related to the environment published in the government official gazette . Through keyword mining, they select publications of interest, which undergo analysis by a team of experts responsible for indicating the most relevant and suggesting a classification. So far, 606 standards and regulations issued by Bolsonaro’s administration have been identified and classified.

With biweekly updates, the project’s goal is “to allow the public to have more knowledge about the federal government activity regarding the environment, which is not always simple, considering that norms for the sector are published together with thousands more related to other areas”.

Brazil has record breaking number of indigenous and quilombolas elected in the 2020 municipal elections

Results are celebrated by the communities who struggle with constant rights violations

Credit: Ribs/via Instituto Socioambiental

18 Nov 20

Brazil has record breaking number of indigenous and quilombolas elected in the 2020 municipal elections

Official data from the Superior Electoral Court (TSE) and social movements indicate that Brazil elected a record number of indigenous and quilombola [afro-brazilian traditional communities members] candidates in the 2020 municipal elections. There were at least 220 indigenous – 10 mayors, 10 deputy mayors and 200 councilmen – and 57 quilombolas – one mayor, one deputy mayor and 55 councilmen – according to the Instituto Socioambiental (ISA).

The information on indigenous candidacies is based on the self-declaration made to electoral justice, registered by the TSE portal, and on the mapping carried out by organizations associated with the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil Network (Apib). According to Apib, the elected candidates belong to 47 peoples and 85 municipalities from all regions of Brazil. Compared to 2016, there has been an increase of almost 12% in the number of indigenous candidates elected, considering only the official data of the TSE. The ISA report also highlights the states that led the list of elected candidates in 2020, with Amazonas in first place (38), followed by Paraíba (18), Pernambuco (17) and Roraima and Bahia, with 15 each. Listened by the NGO, Kléber Karipuna, of Apib coordination, acknowledges in the 2020 elections an important victory of the indigenous movement: “Even in this situation of pandemic, which hindered these candidacies, it is a number considered satisfactory and significant growth of representativeness in the powers, both legislative and executive, and throughout Brazil”.

The survey of quilombola candidates was done by the National Coordination for the Articulation of Rural Black Quilombola Communities (Conaq), which estimates an increase of 54% in candidacies compared to the municipal elections of 2016. For the organization, this is the first time that the quilombola population participates in an expressive way in electoral disputes. “This result represents above all the recognition of the tireless struggle of these leaders for their territories,” said Antônio Crioulo, who accompanied the mobilization in the 23 states in which Conaq operates

In Maranhão, a state that is protagonist of the quilombolas struggle against the expansion of the Alcântara Launching Base, marked by removals and violations of rights, 14 quilombolas councilmen were elected, 11 of them in Alcântara, a municipality that houses the Brazilian Air Force project.

Normative that attacks processes of demarcation of indigenous lands is invalidated by court decision

A Santarém (PA) court accepted MPF’s request

Credit: Rogério Assis/Greenpeace

30 Oct 20

Normative that attacks processes of demarcation of indigenous lands is invalidated by court decision

In the last week of October, indigenous movements took an important step against the systematic violation of territories. In a sentence signed on the 27th, the Federal Court in Santarém (PA) invalidated the normative instruction nº 9/2020, published by the National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), in April, which removes from the country’s land registers the indigenous lands still in the demarcation process. According to the sentence, the instruction violates article 231 of the Constitution, which protects the indigenous right to land as a precedent, and demonstrates “a clear option for the defense of the interests of individuals to the detriment of indigenous interests and, therefore, the public heritage itself, in an apparent inversion of values and swindling the institutional mission,” as reported the portal of the Federal Public Ministry (MPF). The text also reinforced that the existence of indigenous territories not yet definitively regularized is a pending issue caused by the slowness of the federal government.

With the decision, FUNAI and the Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform (INCRA) have a period of 15 days to re-introduce into the Land Management System (Sigef) and the Rural Environmental Cadastre System (Sicar) all the indigenous lands not yet ratified in the regions of the lower Tapajós and lower Amazon.

In all, the MPF filed 24 lawsuits against normative instruction 9/2020, filed in 13 states – Pará, Roraima, Amazonas, Acre, Rondônia, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Ceará, Bahia, São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul – requesting its provisional suspension and annulment after the definitive judgment of the cases.

The measure had already been criticized by several indigenous organizations, political parties – which have even requested its annulment by the STF – and environmental officials. For the Indigenist Associated Group (INA), an association of FUNAI servants, the 9/2020 normative instruction “transforms FUNAI into an instance of certification of properties for squatters, land grabbers, and plotters of Indigenous Lands,” according to a technical note published in April.

Supreme Court suspends Conama decisions that deregulate environmental norms

Justice Weber had demanded explanations about the decision

Credit: Tribunal Superior Eleitoral/Public Domain

29 Oct 20

Supreme Court suspends Conama decisions that deregulate environmental norms

After political parties filed a suit the Federal Supreme Court (STF), through Appeals of Noncompliance with Fundamental Precepts (ADPFs), against the revocations made by the National Environmental Council (Conama), justice Rosa Weber, rapporteur of the lawsuit, suspended the effects of resolution 500/2020. Weber restored the Resolutions 284/2001 on environmental licensing for agricultural irrigation projects, 302/2002 and 303/2002, both referring to the protection of mangroves and restingas. “The sometimes legitimate impetus to simplify environmental law through deregulation cannot be satisfied at the price of setbacks on legal protection of assets,” said the justice.

As informed by the G1, the decision is valid until the analysis, by the STF, of the actions related to the subject.

Resolution 499/2020, which regulates the burning of solid waste in cement factories, had its request for suspension denied.

Covid-19: Brazilian youth raises R$ 900,000 to support indigenous peoples

Brazilian youth during a protest against the destruction of the environment

Credits: Friday For Future Brasil/via Twitter

24 Aug 20

Covid-19: Brazilian youth raises R$ 900,000 to support indigenous peoples

150 young Brazilians from age 17 to 29, inspired by the organization Fridays for Future, globally promoted by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, collected over R$ 900,000 to support Amazon  indigenous peoples during the pandemic.

The campaign SOS Amazon emphasizes the role of indigenous peoples and river-dwellers in protecting the environment, while also underlining the vulnerable conditions that they are submitted to during the pandemic. “They are facing a health care crisis, loss of income, hunger and threats to their territories”. They used the hashtag #DefendTheDefenders to promote the campaign.

Minister of Environment nullifies his own order to give amnesty to Atlantic Rainforest Destroyers

Decision came after strong pressure from MPF and environmentalists

Credits: Edilson Rodrigues/Agência Senado/CC BY 2.0

4 Jun 20

Minister of Environment nullifies his own order to give amnesty to Atlantic Rainforest Destroyers

The minister of the Environment, Ricardo Salles, has nullified his own order 4.410/2020, issued on April 6th, that recognized as legal properties the deforested areas located inside Permanent Conservation Areas (APPs) in the Atlantic Rainforest. The minister retrieved his proposal after strong pressure from Justice and civil society. On May 5th, the Federal Public Prosecution Office filed a lawsuit asking for the nullifying of Salles’s order due to its illegal nature and the threat posed to the biome, which is considered by environmentalists as the most vulnerable in the country.

After pressure, government backs off from changing indigenous health care

Indigenous protesters occupy State Congress in Amazonas

Crédito: Alberto César Araújo/Aleam/via Amazônia Real

28 Mar 19

After pressure, government backs off from changing indigenous health care

After pressure from indigenous groups protesting across Brazil, the Minister of Health stepped back and announced that SESAI (special  secretary on health services for indigenous people) would remain at federal level and continue to be operated by the Ministry of Health. The announcement came after a meeting between the Minister and representatives of indigenous groups in Brasilia, marking an important victory for the traditional communities.

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