Brazilian Indians Win This Round. They Can Stay.

    The chief justice of the Brazilian Supreme Court, Carlos Ayres Britto, suspended three repossession injunctions granted after possessory actions were filed with a federal court in Roraima. The decision was made at the request of the Federal Prosecution Service (MPF) and the National Indigenous Foundation (Funai).

    The preliminary orders were aimed at removing indigenous peoples from the São Francisco, Jawari and Raposa/Serra do Sol communities at the request of rice farmers who invaded the land, and they were supposed to be executed as of October 29. After they were suspended, on October 28, the indigenous people were allowed to stay in the communities. 


    The decision of Carlos Ayres Britto is similar to another one made by the chief justice which suspended the proceedings of a class action until a definition is reached as to what jurisdiction of the judiciary branch has the competence to make decisions about the official confirmation of the bounds of the Raposa/ Serra do Sol land.


    This Class Action exists since 1999, but it was resumed in 2004, when Senator Mozarildo Cavalcante was included amongst its proponents. The Action is against the official confirmation of the bounds of the land as a continuous strip and it gave rise to the legal hindrances which prevent the official confirmation of the bounds of the Raposa/Serra do Sol land today.


    The final decision on the jurisdiction to judge cases involving this indigenous land will only be made after the subject is voted on by the judges of the Supreme Court (STF).


    The validity of the decisions made by the federal court of Roraima is being challenged based on a lawsuit filed by the Federal Prosecution Service with the Supreme Court in the form of a Complaint, a proceeding designed to preserve the competence of the Supreme Federal Court.


    The Federal Prosecution Service argues that there is conflict of interests between the Federal Administration and the State of Roraima and, for this reason, the Supreme Court should be responsible for making decisions on the subject.


    The arguments refer to the class action which was preliminarily accepted by the federal court of Roraima in 2004, according to which the assets of the State of Roraima would be harmed if the indigenous land is demarcated as a continuous strip.


    Cimi ”“ Indianist Missionary Council
    www.cimi.org.br

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