STF suspends key judgment on demarcation of indigenous lands

An indigenous woman takes a selfie during a protest in front of the Supreme Court in Brasília on August 24, 2021. – AFP

The Supreme Court (STF) suspended this Wednesday, without a date to be resumed, the key judgment that could affect indigenous rights over hundreds of lands pending demarcation in the country.

The process was interrupted because Minister Alexandre de Moraes, third of the 11 judges to vote, asked for a view, given the appearance, in the last vote, of fundamentals that deserve a deeper analysis, he indicated.

This Wednesday, minister Kassio Nunes Marques voted in favor of the thesis supported by representatives of agribusiness and president Jair Bolsonaro. This thesis maintains that only those lands already occupied by indigenous peoples before the promulgation of the Constitution, in 1988, should be recognized as ancestral lands.

Nunes Marques argued that “later possessions cannot be considered traditional, because that would imply the right to expand them unlimitedly to new areas already definitively incorporated into the national real estate market”.

Indigenous people consider the temporal criterion unfair, since, throughout history, many of them were moved from their territories, especially during the military dictatorship (1964-1985). And they claim that the Constitution recognizes their rights over their ancestral lands without reference to time.

“Several communities are awaiting the demarcation of their territories, camped on the side of roads. This postponement of the trial only gives more time for the invaders to continue illegally using these territories”, expressed the legal coordinator of the Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil (Apib), Eloy Terena.

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