Oct 16th, 2012
On July 17, Brazil’s Office of the Solicitor-General (AGU) issued Decree 303/2012, which dramatically scales back indigenous rights that are guaranteed by the country’s constitution. The law contains a provision that would permit the construction of “strategic” infrastructure projects such as roads, hydroelectric dams and mines in indigenous territory without consulting the affected peoples and communities.
In addition, the law allows military occupation of indigenous land at any time, prohibits any future designation of indigenous lands EVER, and otherwise infringes on indigenous people’s control of their own territory.
The law has sparked large protests across Brazil. According to Intercontinental Cry:
“On August 10, more than 50 indigenous leaders occupied the headquarters of the AGU to demand the revocation of Decree 303; On August 20, sixteen different Indigenous Nations in the State Mato Grosso came together to show their outrage against the Decree and the recent gutting of the FUNAI, Brazil’s Buerau of Indian Affairs; and on September 4, the Guajajara shut down BR-316, a federal highway that connects the cities of Belém in the state of Pará, and Maceió in Alagoas. …
“Most recently, on September 24, about 500 Pankararu marched against the “anti-indian” decree; and on September 28, the Tembé set fire to illegal logging machinery and trucks within their territory in the municipality of Nova Esperança do Piriá, Pará, Maranhão border. As well, on October 2, the Guajajara headed out again–this time with the Awa–to occupy the Carajás Railway[pt] which links the municipalities of Mineirinho and Auzilândia in the northern state of Maranhão. The railway is owned by mining giant Vale.
“The APIB says that many more mobilizations are on the way in the south, northeast and north of the country.”