Organizations call for Lula’s full veto of Genocide Bill
A letter from 61 entities deems the project the greatest violation of human rights since the end of the military rule and points out that 70,000 indigenous people would be immediately affected
The marco temporal (time frame) is just one of the problems — and perhaps not even the biggest one. This Monday (October 9th), a group of 61 civil society organizations sent a letter to Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva requesting the full veto of Bill 2,903, known as the Indigenous Genocide Bill. The organizations state that the text, approved in a rush by the Senate on September 27th, is the greatest violation of human rights and indigenous lands since the end of the military dictatorship in the country, in 1985. Lula has no choice but to veto it entirely if he wishes to remain faithful to the Constitution, the promises he made to indigenous peoples, and his own discourse of climate protection.
In the letter, the organizations state that the Bill “dismantles, in its several provisions, the very concept of indigenous land enshrined in the Magna Carta.” For instance, it allows the retaking of indigenous reserves by the Union based on subjective, if not outright racist, criteria such as “alteration of cultural traits” of the communities.
This provision alone immediately endangers at least 66 territories that have already been demarcated, ratified, and registered, inhabited by more than 70,000 indigenous people and covering a total area of 440,000 hectares. “This possibility is a clear defiance to Article 231 of the Constitution,” states the document. There are other issues, such as the permission for the sale, purchase, and leasing of indigenous lands, which fatally strikes the guiding Constitutional principle that designates indigenous lands as unavailable assets, dedicated to preserving the culture and way of life of indigenous peoples.
“Besides these unacceptable violations, the proposal prevents the removal of invaders from indigenous lands until the demarcation process is completed, turning indigenous lands and the Brazilian Amazon into lawless territories, unprotected from the legitimate actions of the Brazilian state in combating organized crime and violence,” the letter to Lula continues.
In addition to protecting nearly 700,000 people who inhabit them, indigenous lands in Brazil are also crucial for climate security. In the Amazon alone, they store the equivalent of 42 billion tons of carbon dioxide, and they are the least deforested territories in the country: in 2021, according to MapBiomas, less than 2% of native vegetation loss in the country occurred in indigenous lands, compared to 9% in conservation units and 80% in private areas.
Read the letter to Lula here.
About the Observatório do Clima– Founded in 2002, it is the main Brazilian civil society network on the climate agenda, with more than 90 member organizations, including environmental NGOs, research institutes and social movements. Its goal is to help build a decarbonized, egalitarian, prosperous and sustainable Brazil, in the fight against the climate crisis. Since 2013, OC has published SEEG, the annual estimate of greenhouse gas emissions in Brazil (oc.eco.br).
For press information, please, contact:
Solange A. Barreira – Observatório do Clima
+ 55 11 9 8108-7272
Claudio Angelo – Observatório do Clima
+55 61 99825-4783