Event discusses rights of indigenous people
The Coordination for Applied Legal Research (CPJA) of Sao Paulo Law School (Direito SP), in partnership with law firm Dora, Azambuja and Oliveira Advocacia para Direitos Humanos, brought together leaders, professionals, and scholars to discuss how to better protect indigenous people acknowledged as such by the Federal Constitution. The event was held on November 13.
Despite the advances recognized by the 1988 Constitution regarding the respect and protection to such people’s customs, languages, beliefs, and traditions, and original rights over the lands they traditionally occupy, indigenous leaders were unanimous in pointing setbacks on several of these topics, particularly the standstill regarding land demarcations.
Attorney Paulo Celso de Oliveira Pakararu pointed out that there was a discussion regarding the need to strengthen the State to act positively on indigenous rights and respect the autonomy of indigenous peoples. However, in the current period of setbacks, the moment calls for alliances with the sectors favorable to indigenous people and for preserving the acquired rights. According to Direito SP professor Oscar Vilhena Vieira, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) must be strengthened in order to preserve the rights of indigenous peoples.
“CSOs are the first institutions to suffer the setbacks that we are monitoring, whether regarding freedom of speech, organization, or laws limiting or prohibiting financing. The role of academia is to work on and develop a legal framework enabling the operation of an autonomous and sustainable civil society.”
The meeting brought together leaders and representatives of indigenous organizations such as the Coordination of Indigenous Organizations of the Brazilian Amazon (Coiab); Union of Indigenous Women of the Brazilian Amazon (Umiab); Initiative of Indigenous Peoples of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (Arpin Sudeste); Initiative of Indigenous Organizations and Peoples of the Northeast, Minas Gerais, and Espirito Santo (Apoinme); Terena Council; Brazilian Indigenous Institute for Intellectual Property (Inbrapi). In addition to the organizations, the event was attended by lawyers, researchers, and students, among others interested in the themes involving indigenous organizations, third sector, regulatory framework of Civil Society Organizations, and enforcement of rules to the indigenous peoples.
The event was also supported by the Ford Foundation and the Brazil European Union office, which supports the Economic Sustainability Project of Civil Society Organizations, developed by Direito SP’s CPJA, in partnership with the Group of Institutes, Foundations and Enterprises (Gife) and the Institute of Applied Economic Research (Ipea).