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Message-Id: <199505191722.MAA06895@info.tamu.edu>
Date: Mon, 15 May 1995 06:49:27 -0500
Sender: NATIVE-L Aboriginal Peoples: news & information <NATIVE-L@TAMVM1.TAMU.EDU>
From: rainfor.general@gnosys.svle.ma.us
Subject: Brazilian Government threatens ind

Original Sender: cimi@ax.apc.org
Mailing List: NATIVE-L (native-l@gnosys.svle.ma.us)

Brazilian government threatens Indian rights

Indianist Missionary Council (CIMI), Newsletter, n. 158, 11 May 1995

Brasilia - Contrarily to what the president of Brazil publicly declared during his international visits, the Brazilian government will not spare efforts to restrict Indian rights. That is what the minister of Justice, Nelson Jobim, made clear at a public audience granted this week to the National Defense Commission of the Chamber of Deputies. For two hours, the minister expounded points of the official Indianist policy and government plans to modify decree n. 22/91, which provides for the administrative procedure to be adopted in relation to the demarcation of Indian lands, and to amend a bill which provides for the Charter of Indian Societies, so as to include in it a provision for the adoption of the adversary system - so as to allow invaders interested in remaining in Indian lands to be heard. Before the end of this month, the ministry of Justice will submit a proposal to this end to president Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jobim assured.

Supporting the position of several deputies who are against the demarcation of Indian lands, Jobim resorted to false arguments to justify the use of the adversary system and defended its inclusion in the administrative procedure for the demarcation as the only means to solve conflicts between different interests which usually arise whenever lands are demarcated. It is not the first time that an attempt is made to incorporate that principle. In 1990 and 1991, the Collor administration tried to have a similar measure approved when the text of decree n. 22 was being discussed. The rights to contest and to defend oneself is constitutionally ensured in judicial or administrative procedures.

In the opinion of the Indianist Missionary Council - CIMI -, the demarcation is an administrative procedure to which the adversary system does not apply in any way. Various judges, lawyers and district attorneys who support this point of view argue that it is not the demarcation procedure that provides Indians with the right to a land to live in, because this right has been already recognized in the Brazilian Constitution. Therefore, the introduction of the adversary system is nothing but a neoliberal approach to the Indianist policy aimed at pleasing private interests.

CIMI believes that the Brazilian Government is trying to shirk its constitutional responsibility of ensuring the demarcation of Indian lands. The Council has been doing all within its power to prevent the Fernando Henrique Cardoso administration from applying that legal mechanism. To his end, it will demand measures in tune with what the minister of Justice himself said as he closed the public audience: The demarcation of Indian lands is a means to ensure citizenship rights.