World Rainforest Movement

Tupinikim and Guarani lands: Imminent decission

The difficult process related to the definitive recognition ot the indigenous territorial rights in Aracruz seems to come to an end.

The President of FUNAI, Mr. Sulivan Silvestre Oliveira -responding to pressure from Aracruz Cellulose- has continued trying to delay a final decission on land demarcation. On January 8th, a new Working Group (WG) was sent to the indigenous communities in order to carry out yet another study, because according to him the previous re-study was insufficient. The indigenous peoples did not accept this new WG, that they considered useless, because it could add nothing to the studies already carried out and was a mere way to delay the whole procedure for at least another six months. As a result of this firm opposition the President of FUNAI sent on January 15th the documentation to the Minister of Justice, confirming the last study of FUNAI in favour of granting the claimed 13,579 hectares to the Tupinikim and Guarani.

But only one week later a delegation of FUNAI, headed by Mr. Oliveira visited the Tupinikim. He threatened them that he would set in motion all possible repressive instruments to impede the demarcation action of the indigenous people after January 30th. The President of FUNAI and other government officials resorted to a very strong pressure, combined with an authoritarian attitude in their conversation with the indigenous leaders, and forced them to take a decision at the end of the meeting, instead of consulting their communities like some leaders suggested. He also offended CIMI people and threatened to get them arrested. The authorities looked very much worried for the support that the Movement of Farmers Without Land (Movimento dos Sem Terra) has expressed to the indigenous struggle.

The chiefs and leaders of the Tupinikim and Guarani villages that attended the meeting with the governmental authorities issued a statement which says:

“We, Tupinikim and Guarani, reaffirm that if the Minister of Justice does not sign the decree which will order the demarcation of our lands by the 24th of February, we will implement the self-demarcation of our lands, and we expect that the President of FUNAI will comply with the commitment which he assumed in the presence of the Executive Commission of the Tupinikim and Guarani and will support us and give us protection.”

On March 2nd. a meeting between Mr. Iris Rezende, Minister of Juctice, and a delegation of the Tupinikim and Guarani will take place. It is expected that this will be the last event before a final decision about their land claim is taken.

Source: CIMI.