Nov 09, 2017

Brazil: Report Shows Continuing Deterioration of Indigenous Rights Situation

Photo courtesy of CIMI

On 5 October 2017 the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) published their report on Violence against Indigenous Peoples in Brazil recorded in 2016. The report signals a significant increase in violations of indigenous rights. Violations include child mortality, suicide, murder and omission and delays in the regularization of traditional lands. The report also highlights the political setbacks on indigenous rights and gives a special focus to the appropriation of the ancestral lands of indigenous peoples and traditional communities.  


According to the Federal Constitution, all indigenous lands should have been demarcated until 1993. Twenty-four years later, the demarcation process has still not been finalized. 2016 was another year of constant invasion and devastation of indigenous lands, even of those that had already been demarcated before. In total, there were 59 cases of possessory invasions and illegal exploitation of natural resources. The data presented in this report regarding the omission and delays in land regularization were updated on September 19, 2017, and show that 836 territories remain unmarked. While indigenous people lack sufficient support from official bodies, the power of ruralists is strengthened by proposed amendments to the Constitution, draft laws, provisional measures, conditionalities, ordinances, budget bottlenecks and the dismantling of FUNAI – the institution charged with the protection of indigenous peoples.

The report points to the alarming occurrence of an increase in 136 cases of deaths of indigenous children under 5 years of age since last year. According to the Special Secretariat of Indigenous Health (Sesai), deaths occur due to lack of assistance and severe malnutrition. With regards to suicides, 106 cases were reported, which were 15 more cases than in 2015. The highest number of cases in 2016 were reported in the area of Dsei Yanomami, followed by Mato Grosso do Sul. Last year, Mato Grosso do Sul’s Guarani-Kaiowá community suffered an increased series of violent attacks on their indigenous lands, including the tragedy that occurred in the municipality of Caarapó, which became known as the "Caarapó massacre". However, it is difficult to make a comprehensive analysis due to the lack of detailed information. As indigenous communities wait for the demarcation of their lands, they continue to get attacked by armed aggressors.


The original article published by CIMI (in Portuguese).

The Full CIMI 2016 report attached below.