Brazil’s lower house of congress approved the curb of expanded boundaries of indigenous lands.
Image credit- the Hindu
Brazil’s lower house of Congress approved legislation to limit the increasing distinction of Indigenous areas on Tuesday. The act seemed essential for conserving the Amazon and its original people.
Passed by a chamber of Deputies on a 283-155 vote, the text says that the reserves can only be located on land which was already inhabited by indigenous people in 1988, the year their current constitution was promulgated.
The bill, which is still pending in the Senate, was supported by representatives who supported the agriculture business and opposition groups. It is a blow to the president of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s environmental objectives.
Scientists believe that Indigenous territories serve as an important buffer zone against deforestation in the Amazon, the world’s largest tropical forest.
Hours before the vote, hundreds of indigenous people temporarily blocked the highway on the outskirts of the largest city in Brazil, Sao Paulo. The police dispersed them with tear gas, according to the broadcast on the local news channels.
Indigenous communities in Brazil disagree with the bill’s basic premise, saying they are entitled to their native land regardless of the status of their occupation in 1988. Many indigenous people, according to critics, did not occupy certain areas because they were expelled during the previous military regime which ended in 1985.
Out of the total 764 Indigenous territories in Brazil, about one-third of them haven’t been demarcated, say the figures of the National Foundation for Indigenous People (FUNAI). Lula recognized six new territories in April, for the first time in five years after the indigenous rights were stopped under former president Jair Bolsonaro.
The Chamber of Deputies vote gave rise to several protests in Brazil as well as Manaus, the largest city in the Amazon region. It also managed to gain the attention of international NGOs and activists, including Hollywood actors like Mark Ruffalo and Leonardo Di Caprio.
Mark Ruffalo tweeted that the government of Brazil is being attacked by the agriculture business. It is a war against indigenous people and the forest and our planet is at risk, he adds.
Brazil’s Minister for indigenous people, Sonia Guajajara, said on Tuesday that the bill is not only a mass destruction of the Indigenous people but also a deep attack on the environment. She said that she would keep fighting the bills to the senate as long as the Indigenous people and the environment don’t get Justice.
Image source- NPR
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