Brazil: Indigenous people win 2 important land rights cases at Supreme Court

Brazil’s Supreme Court made two key decisions that strongly favored the country’s indigenous communities Wednesday, rulings that appear to refute the current administration’s recent attempt to link all indigenous land claims to an arbitrary 1988 occupation date, rather than to a long history of documented occupation, as required by Brazil’s Constitution.

The court ruled that both of the civil actions that the Mato Grosso state government had brought against the indigenous agency, Funai, were inadmissible. About a hundred Indians, gathered in the courtroom, greeted the decision with cheers. Outside the building, dozens of Indians, who had spent the night waiting in Brasilia’s central square (the Praça dos Três Poderes), celebrated noisily.

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