Letter in support of land rights for indigenous peoples

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva
E-mail: gilcarvalho@planalto.gov.br

Dear Mr. President,

The indigenous communities of the Makuxi, Wapichana, Taurepang, Patamona and Ingarikó peoples are undergoing a time of great difficulty at the time of the announcement of a reduction of the indigenous land Raposa/Serra do Sol by the Federal Supreme Court. As you know, the Court approved a legal action suspending the removal of non-indigenous people from the reserve.

We understand that the ratification of the legalization decree of the indigenous land Raposa/Serra do Sol is essential for the indigenous peoples of the state of Roraima and of all Brazil. Therefore, if the decision of the Federal Supreme Court is in favour of the settlers, a serious precedent would be set in Brazilian legislation. All indigenous lands in Brazil, including those already demarcated, legalized, and registered, could then becontested and eventually reduced.

In 2005, the Indigenous Land Raposa/Serra do Sol was legalized and registered, in accordance with the Federal Constitution of Brazil and international law, including ILO Convention 169 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. All that remains for the indigenous to exercise their full rights is the removal of the settlers.

For this reason we request that the Federal Supreme court ratify the legalization decree of the indigenous land Raposa/Serra do Sol. By removing the settlers and doing that justice so long hoped for by the indigenous peoples in 34 years of struggle and suffering, Brazil will keep its covenant with indigenous peoples.

Sincerely yours,
Joe Gunn
Office of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
Congregation of Notre Dame --- Visitation Province