News-Letter Nr. 549

Court decision ensures presence of the Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe people in their lands

The preliminary order for repossession of the Caramuru Catarina-Paraguay indigenous land, where the Pataxó Hã hã hãe live, whose execution was approved on January 13 by Judge Pedro Calmon Holiday in Ilhéus, state of Bahia, in favor of farmer Jaime do Amor, was suspended today by the Chief Justice of the Regional Federal Court (TRF) of the 1st Region, federal judge Catão Alves.

The chief justice had rejected a Writ of Prevention proposed by the Federal Prosecution Service for the purpose of suspending a Special Appeal it filed in a Bill of Review. Before the judgment, which was scheduled for 2:00 p.m., he reconsidered his decision and suspended the preliminary order.

In the document that justified his decision, the chief justice stressed his concern with the death of more indigenous people, "the allegations of aggravating circumstances justify the exceptionality of the suspensive effect, particularly to avoid imminent physical violence against indigenous people,(...) considering that the immediate application of the preliminary order could cause irreparable harm to the indigenous people, who would be expelled from their habitat, causing its destruction and even their decimation, as has been happening in the Country since 1500."

As they left the Court, indigenous leaders danced the Tore to thank the judge for his decision. For over 20 days, 13 Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe leaders stayed in Brasília to ensure a favorable outcome for their people with Cimi's support. In the last two days, they met with many chief judges of the Regional Federal Court of the 1st region to tell their story and explain the situation they have been facing in the area.

Mrs. Minervina, mother of Galdino, the indigenous person killed in Brasília in 1997, participated actively in all the steps of the proceedings and sees the decision as a victory for her people. "I am very happy. God showed us the path to victory."

In Cimi's opinion, this decision constitutes another important step to ensure the lands of the Pataxó Hã-Hã-Hãe people.

General assembly in the state of Roraima defines paths for the indigenous movement in the state

From the 5th to the 8th of this month, the 32nd General Assembly of the indigenous peoples of Roraima will be held in the Pium village in Alto Alegre, state of Roraima. The assembly brings together over 700 indigenous leaders of the 10 peoples that live in the state (Makuxi, Wapixana, Yanomami, Xereu, Present, Wai Wai, Manayana, Jaricuna, Taurepang and Ingariko), in addition to indigenous delegations from Venezuela and Surinam.

Representatives of the Public Prosecution Service, of the National Indigenous Foundation, of the National Health Foundation, of the Indigenous Council of the Brazilian Amazon, of the Indianist Missionary Council, of the Brazilian Institute for the Environment, and of the Socioenvironmental Institute have also participated in the discussions held in past assemblies.

This year, the main points to be discussed are the following: the action of military platoons inside indigenous areas, health issues, education issues, the demarcation of indigenous lands, and indigenous rights. The offensives of seven large rice farmers and the large-scale planting of trees of the Cassia genus for a cellulose plant that is being set up in the region are other issues included in the agenda of the assembly.

During the General Assembly, the results of the elections for the new director of the Indigenous Council of Roraima, who is chosen by the direct votes of all indigenous people older than 16 will be announced.

Nilmário Miranda, State Secretary for Human Rights, will attend the Assembly as representative of the president of the republic. His presence is seen by the indigenous people as a sign that the federal administration is taking practical steps to punish the people responsible for crimes committed against the indigenous peoples of that state.

The impasse in the official confirmation of the bounds of the Raposa/Serra do Sol land and the impunity that still prevails in the case of the murder of the Macuxi Aldo Mota are facts that enhance the importance of this indigenous and Indianist assembly in the first months of the new federal administration.

Brasília, 06 February 2003
Cimi - Indianist Missionary Council

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