Brazil’s supreme court rules in favor of the rights of indigenous people in the case of land claims

The court’s decision will have great weight, as the Brazilian Senate is considering legislation to limit new Indian reservations.

Brazil’s Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the rights of indigenous people in a landmark case that assessed the constitutionality of setting a deadline for making claims to ancestral territory.

Nine of the court’s 11 judges voted to overturn the so-called time frame argument, a legal policy supported by businesses and farmers who want to use indigenous land.

The time frame would have forced indigenous groups to prove that they were on the land in question in 1988, when Brazil’s current constitution was ratified, in order to assert the right to the territory.

However, this argument met with widespread criticism from indigenous peoples , human rights organizations and even United Nations experts, who argued that it could legalize the theft of indigenous land.

Thursday’s Supreme Court decision was heralded as a victory for these groups, some of whom celebrated on social media.

An important victory after years of struggle! the human rights group Survival International wrote on Platform X.

Brazil’s indigenous peoples and their allies around the world are celebrating a historic victory: the genocidal and catastrophic time limit trick was rejected by the Supreme Court!

Activist Celia Xakriaba, a member of the Xakriaba people in Brazil, also expressed her joy at the consequences of the decision.

Formed a majority and buried the ‘time frame’! Xakriaba wrote . Victory for the indigenous peoples!

Even Gilmar Mendes understood that we must guarantee our rights, she added, referring to a Supreme Court minister known for controversy.

Mendes had previously justified a deadline for indigenous land claims to avoid endless debates about territories. In the end, however, he voted with a majority for Thursday’s decision.

The court’s decision will weigh heavily on the future of Brazil’s Law 490 , a law limiting new Indian reservations, with the support of the agricultural lobby.

On May 30, the lower house of Congress passed the law by an overwhelming majority of 283 votes to 155, sparking protests, including a highway blockade.

The bill is now before the Brazilian Senate, a vote is expected next week. The Farm Caucus in Congress has already criticized the Supreme Court’s decision and announced that it will proceed with the adoption of Bill 490.

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We want legal certainty for farmers. The Supreme Court is fomenting barbarism in the countryside, total legal uncertainty, the bank said in a statement.

According to the last census, Brazil is home to 1.6 million indigenous peoples, and the ancestral land is an integral part of their culture and livelihood.

But as the majority of the Supreme Court stated in their decision, many indigenous peoples have been and are being forcibly expelled from their territory by settlers and commercial interests.

The case arose from one of these shifts in the state of Santa Catarina. Driven out by tobacco farmers, members of the Xokleng people appealed to the state government for help in reclaiming their land. The state government rejected them, claiming that they did not exist in 1988.

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