News | 17-10-2014
Guarani Brazil Belgium Switzerland

Speakers’ tour in Europe drew attention to the violence against Guarani-Kaiowá communities

Organized in Europe with a delegation from Brazil, a two-week Speakers Tour took place to raise awareness of the international community on the ongoing violence against the Guarani-Kaiowá indigenous communities of Brazil due to their fight to defend the right to territory

Eliseu Lopes (Guarani-Kaiowá representative) and Flavio Machado (CIMI) during the Speakers Tour in Europe, 2014.

FIAN International, along with the Indigenous Missionary Council of Brazil (CIMI), accompanied the Guarani-Kaiowá leader Eliseu Lopes, from the community of Kurusu Amba, in a tour throughout Europe to draw international attention to the violence that has plagued for 40 years the Guarani-Kaiowás due to the failure of the Brazilian government to fulfill its international human rights obligations.

Eliseu Lopes, 36, took part in the 27th session of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations (UNHRC) in Geneva (Switzerland) and met with the U.N. Special Rapporteurs on the Rights of Indigenous People, on the Right to Food and on the situation of Human Rights Defenders.

At the HRC, the UN body dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide, Eliseu testified that "the inconsistent decision by the Brazilian government to halt the demarcation process [of the Guarani-Kaiowá's territories] under the guise of 'dialogue', has just resulted in direct increase in conflicts in all regions".

Lopes reported that the political composition of the present government and its negotiations with the racist and violent agribusiness sector resulted in an escalation of unparalleled violence against indigenous peoples in Brazil, giving as example communities in which people were executed by Federal police officers, killed by loggers and ranchers, confronted with invaders and where children died from lack of proper nutrition.

In Belgium, the delegation met with some Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) -including those part of the Subcommittee on Human Rights and dealing with relations with Brazil, as well as with representatives of the European External Action Service (EEAS), who committed to follow-up on the issue of land demarcation in Brazil. The delegation also met with the Brazilian mission to the EU to point out the lack of action by the Brazilian authorities.

Nevertheless, Lopes said that this is not a new problem for Brazil. Even today, indigenous territories are invaded indiscriminately and the Brazilian government does nothing to fulfill its constitutional obligation. Lopes added "[the Guarani-Kaiowás] cannot bear the disregard from the Brazilian government" that appears "unable to protect them" while they live a humanitarian crisis.

"They invade our land today, the government does nothing; titles are tidied up tomorrow, they kick us out of the territory, the government does nothing; and then the day after tomorrow they say they own the land. And my people? It lives under black canvas on the side road, and the government does nothing. We cannot take this anymore", lamented Lopes.

Overall, the Speakers Tour in Europe was very productive and served as an opportunity to draw attention to the grave violations of the Guarani-Kaiowás' fundamental individual and collective rights in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. Next steps include close follow-up of their case by the U.N. Special Rapporteurs on the Rights of Indigenous People and on the Right to Food.

See pictures of the Speakers Tour

Read below statement by Eliseu Lopes (in Spanish)
Declaracao Eliseu Lopes HRC - FINAL55 K