Brazilian organisations speak out for Raposa Serra do Sol Indians

Eighty-five Brazilian organisations have signed a statement demanding respect for the rights of the Indians of Raposa Serra do Sol, who have been attacked by farmers who want their land.

Raposa Serra do Sol (‘Land of the Fox and Mountains of the Sun’) was officially recognised as indigenous land in 2005, after a long campaign by the five tribes who live there, supported by Survival. But a small group of powerful farmers has refused to leave the area.

In May, gunmen hired by the farmers shot and wounded ten Makuxi Indians. The farmers, supported by the state government of Roraima in northern Brazil, have petitioned the Federal Supreme Court to give them a large piece of the Indians’ land.

The statement says, ‘The 1988 Federal Constitution of Brazil defined the rights of indigenous peoples over their lands and established that these rights enjoy over-riding precedence over any subsequent rights granted to non-indigenous holders. It is inconceivable that in the twenty first century we are once again obliged to witness sophistry in the attempts to expel indigenous peoples from areas that have now become the object of the greed of others.’

Read the statement in full