Quick Hit: Massive Indigenous Rights Movement Launches Across Brazil

2013-brasilia-protests1

Last week, indigenous activists and allies took to the streets of Brazil’s major cities calling for recognition of the rights they are guaranteed within the country’s 1988 Constitution. This is one of the largest examples of indigenous mobilization the country has seen in recent years, though grassroots efforts have gained widespread attention as Brazil enters the global spotlight.

According to Upside Down World:

Hundreds of planned laws and constitutional amendments targeting the rights of indigenous and traditional communities are under debate in Brazil’s Congress and risk being passed this month before lawmakers go into recess, making this week’s mobilizations both urgent and timely.

“We are here because Congress wants to take our rights and extinguish our people,” said Chief Raoni Metuktire, a legendary Kayap√≥ leader from the Amazon. “This assembly is important because it aims to unite our peoples against this threat.”

Hundreds of planned laws and constitutional amendments targeting the rights of indigenous and traditional communities are under debate in Brazil’s Congress and risk being passed this month before lawmakers go into recess, making this week’s mobilizations both urgent and timely.

In addition to presiding over this unprecedented assault on indigenous rights, the Rousseff government has demonstrated the worst record of indigenous territorial demarcation since the nation’s dictatorship era. Further undermining the integrity of these territories, the office of her Attorney General proposes Ordinance 303 in order to veto any expansion of demarcated lands while authorizing the construction of roads, energy transmission lines, and military installations within their borders when such projects are deemed relevant to “national security.”

Critics also argue that this administration has prioritized Brazil’s image abroad over its own citizens, spending millions of dollars on mega events targeted at tourists while the country’s education and transportation systems are in shambles. This was a major theme of the huge #changebrazil marches that broke out earlier this year, the first such widespread activism since Brazil was under dictatorship.

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