Final ruling Supreme Court on Raposa Serra do Sol favours indigenous’ rights

From  Cimi, 23 October 2013:

The Supreme Court ruling on a series of appeals and embargos, Wednesday the 23rd of October, maintained the original 2009 ruling on the demarcation of Raposa Serra do Sol, but also counter-act various recent anti-indigenous measures. Though maintaining the nineteen conditions that accompanied the original ruling, which do not favour the indigenous, the court denied any nationally binding effect to these conditions.


The ministers of the Brazilian Supreme Court (STF ) ruled on Petition 3388 and on seven so-called declaratory embargos presented to the decision that recognized the constitutionality of the demarcation of the Raposa Serra do Sol, Roraima, in 2009.

Following the vote of the rapporteur, judge Luís Roberto Barroso, the Court upheld the judgment of the decision of 2009, including 19 conditions and stressing unequivocally restricting them Raposa Serra do Sol , or denying the binding effect of the same to the other indigenous lands in Brazil .


Indigenous victory


Even though the nineteen condition were not dismissed, as demanded in one embargo by the indigenous peoples of Raposa and other regions of Brazil country, the outcome of the ruling on Petition 3388 represents an important victory for the indigenous peoples, fighting for their traditional territories. Only the judges Joaquim Barbosa and Marco Aurélio de Mello voted in favour of the dismissal, in opposition to the rapporteur’s vote. The fact is that certain anti-indigenous measures of the Executive and Legislative forces were left defeated.


The Supreme Court ruling deconstructs Ordinance 303 (Portaria 303), enacted by the Attorney General of the Union (AGU) in 2012 and suspended by virtue of massive indigenous mobilization and protests. The ordinance would extend to all indigenous lands of the country the constraints present in the judgment of the Court’s decision on the demarcation of Raposa Serra do Sol

With the decision of the Supreme Court, there is no alternative to the Executive than the immediate repeal of Ordinance 303 AGU. Any distinct position will mean an affront to the Supreme Court and a conscious anti-Indigenous policy option by the Federal Government .


Land titles are void


In this ruling, the Supreme Court reaffirmed the original right of indigenous peoples to their traditional lands. The decision reiterated the decision that any property titles referring to land on indigenous territories are void, without any regard to the date they were issued.


The judges also confirmed the validity of the administrative procedures as conducted by the Executive in the demarcation process. Doing so, the Court gave a final blow to the pretensions of the agricultural forces (a bancada ruralista) as expressed through the Constitutional Amendment Proposal (PEC) 215/00, pending in the Congress.


Cimi: Onslaught continues


The Indigenous Missionary Council ( CIMI ) points out, however, that the termination of this process and the final publication of the ruling of Petition 3388 will not resolve the problems concerning the issue of the traditional lands of indigenous peoples. Presumably the political economic, anti-indigenous forces will continue the violent onslaught that they are unleashing against the indigenous people’s, their lands and their constitutionally established rights.

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