News-Letter Nr. 569

Indigenous leaders of Brazil's south region are camped in front of the Ministry of Justice

About 40 indigenous leaders of the Kaingang, Guarani, and Xokleng peoples are camped in front of the ministry of Justice in Brasília. With this protest, they want to be granted an audience with the minister of Justice and president Lula.

These peoples want nine indigenous lands to be demarcated immediately, in addition to a clear position in relation to Brazil's indigenous policy. "We want to say, Mr. President, that we are very worried with the current policy and with the lack of interest of your government (based on what we have seen so far) in solving the problems affecting indigenous peoples in Brazil," they say in a letter that will be delivered to the president.

In the document, the leaders express their concern with the scenario of violence affecting indigenous people this year. "You know that in the first six months of the new federal administration, 15 indigenous leaders were killed, most of whom murdered for their struggle for their lands. President Lula, if no measures are taken against these acts of violence, we will face one of the worst periods in our history, as blood will be shed on the land that should generate life for all. And you know that the only way to avoid violence is by enforcing the constitutional rules that provide for the rights of all citizens and very clearly for our right to have our lands demarcated."

Idalino Fernandes Kaingang, who represents the Commission of Chiefs of Santa Catarina, said that they will not return to their areas without a concrete solution. "We will camp here until Lula receives us. We are determined not to give up," he said. According to Miguel Barbosa Guarani, they will only return to their communities with a positive outcome for their claims. "We will stay here with our companions for as long as it takes for us to have a positive result to take back to our community," he said.

Aniel Xokleng, the general chief of the people, said that the Xokleng have been claiming the right to have their lands demarcated for a long time and that they will not wait any longer to have a positive solution in relation to their rights. "We are here in Brasília to claim our rights; we will not leave before they are ensured," he concluded.

Xukuru protest against audience

Yesterday (the 25th) in Recife (state of Pernambuco), over 120 members of the Xukuru people handed out pamphlets in front of the building of a Federal Court to protest against the way it has been conducting a penal action related to the deaths of José Admilson Barbosa da Silva (Xukuru) and Josenilson José dos Santos (Atikum) during an attempt on the life of chief Marcos Xukuru on February 7 in Pesqueira (state of Pernambuco).

The Xukuru and human-rights organizations of the state of Pernambuco are protesting against the fact that over half of the witnesses to the prosecution to be heard in an audience scheduled for today (the 26th) are acquaintances of the defendant, José Lourival Frazão. They also accuse the Public Prosecution Service of trying to benefit him by arguing that the crime was provoked by chief Marcos, thus turning the victim into defendant and fostering even more the impunity that prevails in the region.

Brasília, 26 June 2003.
Cimi - Indianist Missionary Council

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