All Guarani Indians Want Is that Brazil’s Justice Minister Abides by the Law

    The Campaign for the Demarcation of Brazil’s Morro dos Cavalos Indigenous Land was launched on Tuesday, August 2. The action calls on society to send messages to the Brazilian Minister of Justice requesting him to sign, immediately, an administrative ruling defining the bounds of the Morro dos Cavalos indigenous land located in the municipality of Palhoça, in the state of Santa Catarina.

    Tired of waiting for the law to be complied with, the Guarani decided to pressure the minister of Justice, Márcio Thomaz Bastos, more systematically for him to sign the ruling.


    The deadline for the ministry of Justice to publish an administrative ruling establishing the bounds of indigenous lands expires 30 days after it receives the relevant administrative documents from Funai.


    In the case of the Morro dos Cavalos land, this deadline expired over 21 months ago, although all the steps in the process were concluded and favorable opinions were issued by Funai and legal advisors to the ministry of Justice.


    The campaign launching ceremony will be attended by Guarani leaders from the state of Santa Catarina and will be supported by organizations linked to social movements, churches, schools, and universities.


    The campaign will focus on schools, universities and social and ecclesiastical movements. As stressed by Werá Tupã, leader of the village, “initially, we will send letters and documents to the Minister, but if he doesn’t respond, we will have to take tougher measures to made sure that he abides by the law.”


    The land has not been demarcated because of political pressures from sectors that oppose its demarcation. In this case, the pressure comes particularly from the government of the state of Santa Catarina, which refuses to demarcate any lands. In 2005, no Technical Group was set up in Brazil to identify indigenous lands.


    This situation is aggravated by the precarious conditions faced by the indigenous community, which doesn’t even have enough space to grow crops and is forced to survive on donations.


    The inadequate area that is used by the community today is very unsafe and gives rise to concerns, as the BR 101 highway is only about 30 meters away from the village school. On July 10, three Guarani children were run over near the school by an out-of-control car.


    Website of the campaign: www.terraguarani.org.br


    Cimi – Indianist Missionary Council –
    www.cimi.org.br

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