Awá: Brazilian Bishops Express Concern for Indigenous Rights

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A controversial decision by the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court to cancel the effects of the ordinances of the Ministry of Justice that acknowledged the territories occupied by indigenous peoples has prompted the President of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil to issue a statement expressing concern and emphasizing there should be no ‘backtrack[ing]’ for the realization of indigenous rights.

Below is an article published by Vatican News:

The President of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil on October 23 [2014], released a statement expressing his concern about the rights of indigenous peoples, after the decision of the Federal Supreme Court to cancel the effects of the ordinances of the Ministry of Justice that acknowledged the territories occupied by indigenous people in the states of Maranhão and Mato Grosso do Sul. The statement, sent to Fides Agency, was approved by the Permanent Council of the Episcopal Conference, who gathered in Brasilia, from October 21 to 23 [2014].

“The Bishops’ Conference hopes there is no ‘backtrack’ in the conquest of indigenous rights, in particular as regards to the demarcation of their territories”, the statement said. “The guarantee of the territories of indigenous peoples is a right achieved and ratified in the Federal Constitution, through the arduous struggle of many people of Brazilian society. Unfortunately, economic interests have prevented the demarcation of indigenous lands, which is the realization of the constitutional right. Therefore, most of the indigenous peoples of Brazil continues to live in exile from their land because of the historical dispossession and violence committed against their communities”.

Photo Credit: CIAT

Source: UNPO