The following is an unofficial translation of a December 17 statement by The Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB). You can find the original statement in Portuguese at mobilizacaonacionalindigena.wordpress.com.
We leaders of indigenous peoples and organizations from all regions of Brazil, gathered in Brasilia – Federal District, to make manifest our repudiation of the process of suppression of our fundamental, collective and original rights–operating ostensibly, for distinct institutions of the Brazilian State, notably in the Congress of the Republic, under the neglectful and complicit gaze of the Executive branch and sectors of the Judiciary–coming together before national and international public opinion to denounce:
1. The brutal actions of the police forces – at the Legislature, the Military Police (MP) and the National Force – that in addition to impeding our access to the National Congress, considered the house of the people, in actions counter to the rule of law, the democratic regimen, with abuse of authority, repressing, intimidating, threatening and arbitrarily detaining our relatives, as occurred last Tuesday, December 16 of 2014, when the Military Police captured on the main access road to the Ministry of Justice four leaders and two others on federal highway BR-040 when at night we were returning to the area where we were being lodged.
2. The ruralist caucus, in their majority, heirs of the invaders of the territory now called Brazil and of the executioners of our peoples in the period of the dictatorship, want in all ways to suppress our rights guaranteed by the Federal Constitution of 1988, to legalize the usurpation, the defrauding and plunder that for centuries has been practiced against the few lands that remain to us in these 514 years of invasion.
3. The ruralistas, many of them financed by agribusiness corporations, cold storage plants, the armaments industry and contractors, among others, since 2011, primarily, have done everything to change, according to their interests, the Constitutional text that guarantees our rights, by means of the legislative initiatives like the Proposed Constitutional Amendment – PEC 215 of 2000; the PL without a number proposed by Senator Romero Jucá that amends Article 231, paragraph six; the PEC 237 which deals with the lease of indigenous lands, and the Supplementary Bill (Projeto de Lei Complementar) 227, which has the same purpose as the PL of the said Senator.
4. The government of President Dilma, though having declared opposition to PEC 215, has done little to counter this dreadful offensive, which at present is configured as a genocidal plan, of extermination of our peoples, such that with its peculiar silence shows agreement that our territorial rights are to be suppressed, despite in the “Letter to the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil”, published by the then candidate in the most recent elections, having stated to work seeking “new advances, particularly in the demarcation of the indigenous lands, within the framework of our Constitution”.
5. Declarations of this nature become void when the government neglects to orient its support base to counter the systematic attacks on indigenous rights in the National Congress and when it makes the determination to suspend the process of demarcation of indigenous lands, because in this way it appears to agree with the objectives of the ruralistas to invade, exploit and merchandise our territories and their richness, for which they want to interfere in the demarcation process, to reopen already concluded cases and to totally stop the processes of demarcation.
President Dilma would never say to the indigenous peoples what she said to the National Confederation of Agriculture (CNA), in the possession of its chairman Senator Katia Abreu: “I want the CNA at my side … I propose more than that. I want the rural producers making decisions with me, participating in the government and acting directly in the definition of new policies.” This to an entity that considers the Indigenous Peoples and Quilombolas obstacles to “development”.
6. Given this roster of threats and attacks, we reaffirm our determination to continue in the struggle to defend our rights, for which we hope to count on the support of other social movements and organizations and national and international public opinion, requiring from the Brazilian State the implementation of the following rightful claims:
- Demarcation of indigenous lands, with the necessary budgetary allocation. There remaining more than 60% of the areas not demarcated.
- Protection, inspection and removal of invaders from the indigenous lands, assurance of conditions of sustainability to our peoples.
- To render non-viable legislative initiatives (PECs, PLs) that intend to suppress the indigenous rights secured by the Federal Constitution, in favor of a positive agenda.
- Approval of the proposed law and effective implementation of the National Council of Indigenous Policy, a deliberative, normative and articulatory body for policies and actions currently dispersed among the distinct agencies of the government.
- Application of Convention 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO), addressing Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries in all matters pertaining to our interests.
- Effective implementation of the Subsystem of Indigenous Health, through the strengthening the Special Secretariat of Indigenous Health (SESAI) to surmount the current situation of chaos and abandonment.
Guarantee of access to education that is of quality, specific and differentiated, in the villages, on indigenous land or nearby.
- Guarantee the participation of indigenous peoples in the National Council for Incentive to Culture and the creation of a specific jurisdiction to attend to the demands of our cultures.
- Commitment to put an end to the criminalization, the murder and arbitrary arrests of indigenous leaders who struggle to defend the territorial rights of their peoples. In this sense we demand the immediate release of our leaders who were arrested, yesterday, for doing nothing more than manifesting opposition to the unconstitutional PEC 215.
National Indigenous Mobilization
Brasília – DF, December 17 of 2014.