Indigenous leaders call on Lula to veto the Timeframe Thesis Bill
A letter stressing the unconstitutional nature of the bill passed by the Senate was delivered to the Brazilian representative of the United Nations in Switzerland. Indigenous leaders are participating in the UN Human Rights Council session
Inaye Gomes Lopes, das etnias Aty Guasu Kaiowá e Guarani, entrega carta a Tovar da Silva Nines, delegado Permanente do Brasil em Genebra — Foto: Luiza Buchaul/Conectas
On Friday (29), indigenous, human rights and socioenvironmental organizations sent a letter to Lula, asking the president to veto Bill 2903/2023, passed by the Federal Senate this week.
The letter was delivered to Tovar da Silva Nunes, head of the Brazilian mission at the UN in Geneva, Switzerland. Indigenous leaders from Brazil are in the European country to denounce rights violations at the United Nations.
Going against the understanding of the Supreme Federal Court (STF), the bill passed by the Senate establishes a timeframe for the demarcation of indigenous land. The Timeframe Thesis holds that indigenous people would only have the right to the land if it was in their possession on the date of the proclamation of the Federal Constitution, in October 1988. However, it ignores the historic violations that these peoples have suffered over the years.
The document is intended not only for the Presidency of the Republic but also for the Ministry of Human Rights, the Ministry for Agrarian Development and Family Agriculture and the National Justice Council.
The appeal is signed by the Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil – APIB, Aty Guasu Guarani Kaiowá, Conectas Human Rights, the Socioenvironmental Institute, Kunhangue Jeroky Guase Marangatu, Observatório do Clima, the Organization for the Human Right to Adequate Food and Nutrition – FIAN International and Retomada Aty Jovem Guarani Kaiowá – RAJ.
The organizations state that the Senate Bill “represents flagrant unconstitutionality, an assault on democracy and the separation of powers and if it is proclaimed it could impose serious fundamental human rights violations on Brazil´s indigenous people”.
Congress passed Bill PL 2903/2023 while the STF considers the same Timeframe Theory to be unconstitutional. Therefore, the organizations that have signed the letter argue that given the STF decision the Bill is not only unconstitutional but also withdraws constitutional rights, harms the demarcation of indigenous lands, threatens territories that have already been ratified and disregards the need for consultation and free, prior, informed consent.
On requesting that Lula veto the Bill, the organizations also stress that the text conflicts with efforts to protect the environment and combat climate change.