Brazil’s Interministerial Working Group for the Indigenous Policy (GTI) was officially set up on November 9. The respective administrative ruling was published in the Brazilian Diário Oficial (Official Gazette).
According to the Diário, the group was set up to “define, after consulting representative organizations of indigenous peoples, priority actions to be addressed by the governmental policy in this area and monitor their implementation,” according to
Cimi, Brazil’s Indianist Missionary Council, challenged this decision because the group does not involve representatives of indigenous peoples and organizations in the actual formulation of the indigenous policy.
Those more directly affected by the indigenous policy will only be consulted in relation to an Action Plan already prepared by the Working Group for Indigenous Policies of the Social Policy Chamber of the Governmental Council, which will also address topics defined by the Foreign Affairs and National Defense Chamber of the Governmental Council.
This Chamber is mostly made up of military and in 2003 it had the “human rights” and “indigenous populations” topics added to other issues it deals with.
The GTI which was set up this week is composed of representatives of the ministries of Health, Education, Defense, Social Development and Fight Against Hunger, Environment, Mines and Energy, and Planning, Budget and Management, and also of representatives of the Civil House, General Secretariat of the Office of the President of the Republic, the Institutional Security Office of the Presidency of the Republic, the Special Advisory Office of the Presidency of the Republic, and the Special Secretariat for Promoting Racial Equity of the Presidency of the Republic.
In Cimi’s opinion, the Government is clearly not interested in fulfilling one of its main programmatic commitments in relation to indigenous peoples: the commitment to respect the right of these peoples, their communities and organizations to participate in decisions on issues affecting them, particularly in the formulation of the indigenous policy.
This right is one of the main pillars of Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization (ILO), which the Brazilian Executive Branch promulgated on April 19 of this year.
Considering that it has disregarded commitments made in relation to indigenous peoples during the presidential campaign on other occasions, it looks like the Lula administration will be the first party to violate the terms of the Convention.
Cimi ”“ Indianist Missionary Council
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