NEW MANEUVER AGAINST INDIGENOUS RIGHTS AIMS TO REDUCE RAPOSA/SERRA DO SOL INDIGENOUS AREA
A new battle is being fought in the war against indigenous peoples in Roraima. The anti-Indian forces of that state intend to establish two new municipalities, Pacaraima and Uiramuta, inside the Sao Marcos and Raposa/Serra do Sol indigenous areas. With this purpose in mind, the Assembly approved laws n. 96 and 98 of 17 October 1995, which were sanctioned by the governor, creating the new municipalities and establishing their seats in the villages of Pacaraima and Uriamuta, inside the two indigenous areas.
The establishment of the new cities will be consolidated with the elections to be held on October 3 and the swearing into office of their mayors. A previous attempt to create the municipality of Uiramuta had been made in 1994, when the proposal did not meet the requirements of the state laws. In 1995, the law was changed.
The creation of municipalities like Pacaraima and Uiramuta is a strategy to enable invaders of indigenous areas in Roraima to remain in them. It is an action aimed at spearheading the occupation of those areas by non-Indians. These villages have been traditionally used as support points for the occupation of larger and larger areas, particularly by miners. The strategy will be consolidated when those villages become seats of municipalities, similarly to what happened in Normandia, whose seat the minister of Justice has in principle agreed to expand in the process of demarcating the Raposa/Serra do Sol area, in compliance with the demands of the same anti-Indian forces.
Regarding the two new municipalities, Funai filed a possessory action against their creation at the Federal Court of Boa Vista in 1995 and got a preliminary order in its favor which was annulled in July by the Regional Federal Court of the 1st Region in Brasilia. In the opinion of the judge in charge, Olindo Menezes, there were no legal grounds for issuing a preliminary order against the state of Roraima in an action involving the possession of a land area. Because of this decision, the legalized invasion of the Sao Marcos and Raposa/Serra do Sol indigenous areas may be consolidated.
The Indigenous Council of Roraima (CIR) filed a writ of prevention at the Supreme Federal Court yesterday (September 19) as an attempt to prevent the establishment of those two federation units and, consequently, the holding of the upcoming municipal elections. Minister Mauricio Correa, former minister of Justice, who knows all the details of the case, will be the rapporteur of the proceedings.
Meanwhile, three additional years have gone by without the continuous and definitive demarcation of the Raposa/Serra do Sol indigenous area. The political pressures against its demarcation are so strong that it took 15 years for Funai to conclude the preliminary process of identifying the area, in 1993. It is included among eight other areas whose documents were referred back to Funai by the Ministry of Justice for further studies based on Decree 1,775/96, but for which no solution has been devised so far.
The minister of Justice has postponed for three times his announced visit to Roraima, giving rise to tension and conflicts. On September 16, the Indians ran out of patience and staged a demonstration in the city of Boa Vista (Roraima), which was attended by 700 Indians and representatives of the Church and NGOs, where they announced the self-demarcation of the area. On Tuesday, the 17th, Funai confirmed the visit of Jobim to Roraima on October 10. The Indians promised to abide by the rules until that date, but they have warned that they will make it impossible for the elections to be held in the two invading municipalities.
The creation of municipalities in indigenous areas is unconstitutional. The land belongs to the Union, and only the National Congress can legislate on such matters. In this regard, Cimi supports CIR's action to annul the creation of illegal municipalities which may characterize an invasion of the Raposa/Serra do Sol indigenous area and may lead to its reduction.
SOLIDARITY CAMPAIGN SOS RAPOSA/SERRA DO SOL
In support of the indigenous peoples living in the Raposa/Serra do Sol indigenous area, Cimi is promoting a campaign in the form of faxes sent to the president and justice in charge of the case at the Supreme Federal Court (STF), where the writ of prevention filed by the Indigenous Council of Roraima (CIR) is being judged. We therefore ask those who sympathize with the indigenous cause to send faxes to the numbers provided below as soon as possible. In order to facilitate the campaign, we are suggesting that the faxes to be sent to the justices of the STF read as follows:
"Your Honor Justice (name), we kindly ask you to rule in favor of a Writ of Prevention - filed by the indigenous Council of Roraima on September 18 - by issuing a preliminay order to suspend the establishment of the municipalities of Pacaraima and Uiramuta and the upcoming elections to be held in them, as they would be located inside the Sao Marcos and Raposa/Serra do Sol Indigenous Areas, thereby infringing the Federal Constitution of Brazil and jeopardizing indigenous rigths."
or in Portuguese
"Exmo. Sr. Ministro (name) solicitamos a V. Excia. o acolhimento de Medida Cautelar - impetrada pelo Conselho Indigena de Roraima em 18 de setembro - com concessao de liminar, suspendendo a instalacao e as eleicoes proximas dos Municipios de Pacaraima e Uiramuta, por afrontar a Constituicao Federal Brasileira e agredir direitos indigenas".
The faxes should be sent to:
Ministro Jose Paulo Sepulveda Pertence
Fax: 55 61 316-5508
Ministro Mauricio Jose Correa
Brasilia, 20 September 1996
Indianist Missionary Council - Cimi