Protect the Land Rights of Brazil’s Indigenous Peoples

Target: Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff

Goal: Stop legislation that would erode the rights of indigenous peoples to control of tribal lands and self-determination

For centuries, the various indigenous cultures of Brazil have lived in relative harmony with their environment, living off the land and practicing traditional hunting, fishing, and agriculture. Today, about 896,000 people belonging to more than 230 tribes live in Brazil, and the country is home to more than half of the world’s uncontacted tribes.

Since colonization of the South American continent by Europeans, disease, genocide, and the destruction of tribal lands have all taken a heavy toll on Brazil’s indigenous population. Now a new threat has emerged: Brazilian government officials are pushing a suite of policies that would weaken indigenous land rights, and leave tribal communities vulnerable to the destruction or degradation of their land. Some proposed pieces of legislation would open up tribal lands to logging, mining, and other industrial activity, while a proposed amendment to the Brazilian Constitution would weaken the ability of indigenous peoples to gain legal recognition of their lands. Members of the Brazilian Congress are actively pushing these dangerous proposals, but a big enough international public outcry just might stop them.

Brazil’s indigenous peoples have already spoken out loud and clear against the assault on their land rights. Last spring, hundreds of people belonging to several different tribes converged on the Brazilian Congress, and urged lawmakers not to dismantle indigenous rights. This month, peaceful protesters led by a Brazilian tribal rights activist gathered outside the Brazilian embassy in London, adding an international dimension to the outcry over land rights.

This kind of international public attention could persuade the Brazilian government, which is anxious to preserve its image as an environmental leader, to drop its assault against indigenous peoples. Please sign this petition to condemn proposed rollbacks of indigenous rights in Brazil, and call on the Brazilian government to protect the right of tribes to self-determination.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Rousseff,

As members of the international community, we call on Brazil to protect the rights of indigenous peoples, and drop any effort to weaken tribal land rights and the right to self-determination. Recent proposals to open tribal lands to logging, mining, and industrial activity pose a human rights threat of international concern. Meanwhile, the PEC 215 constitutional amendment threatens to erode the ability of tribes to protect their own lands. We call on you to oppose these and any other policies that weaken indigenous land rights, and to do all in your power to prevent these proposal from moving forward.

Brazil has built itself a reputation as an international green leader, thanks to successful efforts to curb deforestation. But indigenous peoples are almost always the best stewards of their own lands, and so any assault on tribal land rights also threatens the natural environment. The world is watching to see if Brazil will stand strong for indigenous rights by rejecting rollbacks to tribal self-determination.

The international community is counting on Brazil to do the right thing. Please take a stand for indigenous land rights, and reject PEC 215 and any legislation that forces tribes to accept industrial development on their lands.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Victor Englebert/Survival International

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Signatures

  • pmmmilnQF
  • gabriele jefferson
  • pmyqntdJH
  • Zzttheeh8vWO
  • pmszegyJH
  • Dimitris Dallis
  • pmauzzcJH
  • Jeanie Streit
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