Newsletter n. 202


The Federal Attorney for Citizenship Rights, Alvaro Augusto Ribeiro Costa, accepted on Monday, January 18, a petition filed by the Council for the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples and Organizations of Brazil (Capoib) to have Decree 1,775/96 declared partially unconstitutional and the conduct of the minister of Justice, Nelson Jobim, questioned for having favored interest that are contrary to those of indigenous peoples and the Union. The opinion issued by attorney Alvaro Augusto requests attorney general Geraldo Brindeiro to send official letters to the president of the Republic recommending that Decree 1,775/96 be annulled or revoked and also that the improper administrative conduct of the minister of Justice be investigated. Capoib's petition considers that the inclusion of the adversary system or ``broad defense rights'' in the procedures for the demarcation of indigenous lands is not legally grounded. The Indians want decree 1,775/96 to be challenged on grounds that it is unconstitutional, particularly paragraph 8 of article two and all article 9. In his opinion, the attorney expands the suggestion and says that paragraphs 9 and 10 of article two are also illegal and accepts Capoib's reasoning, which refers to an opinion issued to the Government of the state of Para in 1993 by the then federal deputy Nelson Jobim regarding the legal grounds of Decree 22/91. According to the ``New Lawyers' Statute and the Statute of the Brazilian BAR Association (OAB),'' members of the legislative branch are not allowed to perform private advocacy a activities. According to Capoib, the minister is using his position to benefit allies, based on the letters he wrote to States such as Para suggesting that they should contest demarcations. This is one of the facts that led the attorney to propose an investigation on the improper administrative conduct of minister Nelson Jobim. In his opinion, Alvaro Augusto recommends that the general attorney, Geraldo Brindeiro, should file a suit against the decree at the Supreme Federal Court on grounds that it is unconstitutional and request a preliminary order to suspend its effects. This is at least the second legal defeat of the Ministry of Justice since Decree 1,775/96 was issued. On February 14, judge Selene Maria de Almeida accepted a collective action brought by deputy Ivan Valente (Workers'Party-Sao Paulo) requesting that it be annulled. In her decision, the Judge determined that the ministers of Justice and Agriculture, the president of Funai and the president of the Republic himself were to be summoned in the procedures to provide clarifications on acts related to the decree. INDIANS PROMOTE MOBILIZATION AGAINST DECREE Indigenous leaders in various Brazilian capitals like Sao Paulo, Fortaleza and Recife are protesting and promoting public demonstrations against Decree 1,775/96. Between the 24th and the 28th of this month, about 400 indigenous leaders will be in Brasilia in a large national mobilization. The demonstrations are being supported by entities linked to the social movement. During the same period, Indian Jose Adalberto Macuxi will be representing Capoib at a seminar of the United Nations in Canada. Brasilia, March 21, 1996 Indianist Missionary Council - CIMI