Press Release | 31-01-2013
Guarani Brazil Indigenous Peoples Agrofuels

Brazil: First Step Taken Towards Recognition of Indigenous Lands of Guarani-Kaiowá

Victory for indigenous Guarani-Kaiowá of Brazil.

Guarani women

Heidelberg/Goiania, 31 January 2013 - The year 2013 begins hopefully for the arduous struggle of the indigenous Guarani-Kaiowá people of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil.

On January 8 the Official Gazette published the Order of the President of the National Indian Foundation, Funai, which recognized Iguatemipegua I, an area of about 41,571 hectares within the municipality of Iguatemi, MS, as being the traditional territory of the Guarani-Kaiowá.  

According to the study commissioned by Funai, the area is home to approximately 1,793 indigenous inhabitants within nine tekohas or sacred territories. This includes 170 indigenous people from the tekoha of Pyelito Kue, who published a letter at the end of last year, largely misconstrued to be a threat of mass suicide, which announced their resistance to the threat of eviction generating sympathy among the Brazilian population and capturing the attention of the international community.  

FIAN Brazil, with the support of FIAN International and many of its national sections, has been following the case of the Guarani-Kaiowá since 2005. Working with the public prosecutor and alongside organizations such as CIMI and Justiça Global, FIAN has successfully increased visibility for the cause as well as put pressure upon the national and international responsible bodies, especially through monitoring of the Terms of Adjustment of Conduct (TAC). The TAC is an agreement signed in 2007 by Funai and the Public Ministry Prosecutors, and witnessed by indigenous groups, that determines the work of 6 groups in preparing a report on the identification and demarcation of 36 tekohas.  

The Order of January 8 is the first of the reports to come from the working groups, which were originally scheduled to be published in June 2009. This order constitutes a small but important step in the demarcation process of Guarani territories. It is worth noting that this victory is the result of years of resistance by the Guarani people, supported by social organizations and, as was reflected in demonstrations in over 50 cities and appeals on the Internet, by the national and international community as a whole.  

The ultimate demarcation of the Iguatemipegua I land depends on the final opinion of the Funai to the Ministry of Justice, which is expected to be published after the deadline for contesting the report expires, 90 days from the date of the original publication.  

There is still a long way to go in this struggle, not only in relation to the Iguatemipegua land, but for all Guarani territories. Thus, it is necessary to maintain visibility and solidarity with Guarani-Kaiowá so that their human rights and sacred territories can be protected.  In this way, 2013 can continue to be a year of victories.  

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