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BRAZIL
Court rules in favor of land invaders
Latinamerica Press
5/8/2008
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The Supreme Federal Court granted an injunction that was requested by the state government.

The Supreme Federal Court granted an injunction on April 9 that was requested by the state government of Roraima in northern Brazil against the expulsion of non-indigenous residents from a reserve inhabited by native peoples.

The Indigenous Missionary Council, a group linked to the Catholic Church of Brazil, has warned that the ruling against the federal government-ordered expulsion from the Raposa Serra do Sol Indigenous Reserve will endanger the indigenous population.

Since the eviction plan called Operation Upatakon 3 began on March 27, rice farmers — individuals who have rejected a government severance package — that have entered indigenous land and Roraima state politicians have responded violently, destroying bridges, setting indigenous homes on fire, road blockades, bombings and death threats against indigenous leaders. The indigenous council says that they have turned the local population against the indigenous residents, creating a climate of tension.

In an open letter, the Macuxi, Wapixana, Taurepang, Ingariko and Patamona peoples said that federal government officials´ slow response “allowed that the enemies of our rights protest violently and are able to put the situation to their favor, sacrificing the indigenous peoples.”

Raposa Serra do Sol, a 1.67-million hectare (4.12 million) stretch of land, is home to 19,000 indigenous Brazilians. The first government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva named the reserve in April 2005.


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