Impact | Negative
Probability | Medium
Civicus Rating | Obstructed
The situation of Brazil’s indigenous peoples has been viewed with concern for decades due to their living conditions and lack of protection of their rights. This could now be aggravated if a bill to reform the so-called Statute of the Indian, which obtained a committee ‘verdict’ in the Chamber of Deputies on June 23, is approved.
The proposal seeks to put an end to the obligation to consult these communities on any type of exploitation of their protected lands and the natural resources found therein. Introduced to Congress 14 years ago by the then Deputy for Partido Social Democrático, Homero Pereira, it had languished since 2009. However, after a long series of comings and goings in the debate in committees, it was recently taken up again by the government of Jair Bolsonaro.
The bill aims to amend Law No. 6001 of 1973 – the Statute of the Indian – which regulates the legal status of Indigenous Communities in Brazil, protects their culture and guarantees them a progressive integration into the national community based on respect for their customs and recognition of their power over ancestral lands.
Behind the interest of Bolsonaro – who during the 2016 presidential campaign questioned the territorial demands of Indigenous Peoples – one can glimpse the pressure of the agribusiness conglomerate that seeks to exploit this portion of land protected by law. The initiative highlights the fragility of the system of guarantees for the protection of Indigenous Peoples’ Human Rights in Brazil, which – unlike in other countries in the region – do not have constitutional hierarchy.