18 de março de 2019  


Civil society organizations demand respect for indigenous rights and the upholding of the democratic rule of law in Roraima
[07/05/2008 12:14]

Prominent institutions, including CNBB, SBPC, ABONG, FDDI, Instituto Ethos, ABA and others, have issued a statement in support the removal of illegal occupants from the Raposa-Serra do Sol indigenous area and calling for respect for the democratic rule of law in Roraima. The statement is open for further signatures by civil society institutions. Read the full text and see who has already signed.

Statement in support of the removal of illegal occupants of the Raposa Serra do Sol indigenous area and of upholding the democratic rule of law in Roraima

In light of the discussions currently taking place in the Federal Supreme Court and the media concerning the demarcation and removal of illegal occupants from the Terra Indígena Raposa-Serra do Sol in the state of Roraima, the undersigned wish to state the following:

  1. The rights of indigenous peoples to their lands have been acknowledged ever since colonial times. These rights have been enshrined in every Brazilian Constitution since that of 1934. Similarly, since colonial times those seeking wealth or who are greedy for lands have always devised subterfuges to avoid the application of these laws. It is as a consequence of this greed that the largest indigenous populations in Brazil today are those that lay beyond the former economic frontier. In the regions of longer settlement indigenous peoples have been decimated.

The 1988 Federal Constitution of Brazil defined the rights of indigenous peoples over their lands and established that these rights enjoy over-riding precedence over any subsequent rights granted to non-indigenous holders. It is inconceivable that in the twenty first century we are once again obliged to witness sophistry in the attempts to expel indigenous peoples from areas that have now become the object of the greed of others, repeating past practices of which we should be ashamed.

  1. Traditional indigenous occupation of the entire area of the Terra Indígena Raposa Serra do Sol is proven in the extensive historical record and was a determining factor in defining Brazil’s international boundary with Guyana. More than eighteen thousand Macuxi, Wapixana, Ingarikó, Taurepang and Patamona people inhabit this area, in over a hundred separate communities that have preserved their languages and customs.
  2. The process of demarcation of this area has been underway since the late 1970s. The area was identified by the federal indigenous affairs agency Funai in 1993 with its current dimensions; it was demarcated administratively and physically during the presidency of Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1998); and was definitively registered in 2005 during the current administration of President Lula, once all legal appeals had been rejected.
  3. The vast majority of non-indigenous residents who had previously occupied the area in good faith were compensated or resettled. Resistance to the removal of the remainder is confined to a small group of rice producers who set themselves up in the southern part of the indigenous area at the beginning of the 1990s and have increased their areas of production, despite knowing that these are public lands belonging to the federal government.
  4. There is no urban settlement within the Terra Indígena Raposa Serra do Sol, only a small village – Vila Surumu – whose current population is almost entirely comprised of indigenous people. Vila Surumu was established by ranchers who have now left the indigenous area and only eleven non-indigenous residents remain for Funai to compensate. The town of Uiramutã, established in 1995 and seat of the municipality of the same name, was placed outside the limits of the indigenous area in 2005. The majority of the inhabitants of the municipal seat are members of the Uiramutã indigenous community. There used to be three prospecting camps known as Socó, Mutum and Água Fria. With the removal of the prospectors in 1994 these areas were reoccupied by the indigenous communities. Funai compensated and removed all non-indigenous occupants and today these locations are completely integrated into the indigenous settlements.
  5. Indigenous areas (terras indígenas) are the property of the Union (the federal government) and are non-transferable and inalienable. By conserving forests in the face of advancing deforestation, which destroys water sources, alters rainfall patterns and reduces biological diversity, indigenous lands provide Brazil with important environmental services.
  6. The Constitution posits a harmonious relationship between the full recognition of indigenous rights and the presence of the State within Terras Indígenas, including for the purposes of national defence along the national frontier, indispensible for the protection of indigenous lands and of the indigenous population itself. Nowadays there are military posts in several Terras Indígenas, including Raposa Serra do Sol, and a significant number of their soldiers are indigenous.
  7. Raposa-Serra do Sol is not the only nor the largest Terra Indígena located along Brazil’s international boundaries. The demarcation of these areas contributes to regularization of property registers and reduction of conflicts and creates no difficulties whatsoever for the activities of the State, and in particular those of the Armed Forces, even in the most critical areas such as Brazil’s border with Colombia.
  8. There have been no cases within any Terra Indígena of any attempt on the integrity of the national territory or of any act of insurgency against the Brazilian State.
  9. The Terra Indígena Raposa-Serra do Sol represents 7.7% of the area of the state of Roraima, and serves a double purpose as both a conservation area and an indigenous area. The fact that officially recognized indigenous lands constitute 46.13% of the state of Roraima is due to historical reasons deriving from indigenous settlement since time immemorial and is not disproportionate as regards the real presence of the indigenous population within the overall rural population of the state.
  10. The process of demarcating a Terra Indígena changes nothing; it merely acknowledges and protects a de facto situation, in other words the traditional indigenous occupation of a given territory. Each indigenous people inhabiting an area where Brazil’s national boundaries are now to be found has been there since long before such boundaries were politically established.
  11. The existence in Roraima of federal areas with specific ends (Terras Indígenas and federal conservation areas) neither affects the governability of the state nor the ability of other sectors of local society to exercise their rights over their lands. Even if these federal areas are excluded, Roraima still covers an area larger than that of the state of Pernambuco, which has a population ten times greater.

For these reasons the undersigned trust that the Federal Supreme Court will not delay in coming to a view on this case, reaffirming the panoply of indigenous constitutional rights and their harmony with the interests of the nation, thereby bringing to an end this polemic that has prolonged unnecessary conflicts.



ABA – Associação Brasileira de Antropologia

Abeta – Associação Brasileira de Empresas de Ecoturismo e Turismo de Aventura

ABONG – Associação Brasileira de ONGs

Ação Educativa

AMABEL/MG – Associação de Moradores de Aluguel da Grande Belo Horizonte

Amigos da Terra - Amazônia Brasileira

AMIT – Associação Missão Tremembé

Apoinme – Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Nordeste, Minas Gerais e Espírito Santo

Apremavi – Associação de Preservação da Mata Atlântica e da Vida

Articulação de Mulheres Brasileiras

Associaçao dos Perseguidos Politicos de Minas Gerais

Associação Nossa Tribo

Associação Terra Laranjeiras

Bolsa Brasileira de Commodities Ambientais

CCPY – Comissão Pró-Yanomami

CDHS – Centro de Direitos Humanos de Sapopemba

Cebrades – Centro Brasileiro de Desenvolvimento

CEDEFES – Centro de Documentação Eloy Ferreira da Silva

Centro de Cultura Luiz Freire

Centro de Defesa dos Direitos Humanos de Campinas/SP

Centro de Defesa dos Direitos Humanos Margarida Maria Alves - São Paulo/SP

CESE – Coordenadoria Ecumênica de Serviço

CIMI – Conselho Indigenista Missionário

CNBB – Conferência Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil

COIAB – Coordenação das Organizações Indígenas da Amazônia Brasileira

Combate ao Racismo Ambiental

Comissão Nacional de Direitos Humanos do Conselho Federal de Psicologia

Comissão Pró-Índio de São Paulo

Comitê pela Democratização da Informática do Pará

CONECTAS Direitos Humanos

Conservação Internacional

Credibilidade Ética

CTI – Centro de Trabalho Indigenista

Ecoa – Comissão Ecologia e Ação

Esplar – Centro de Pesqusia e Assessoria

Fala Preta – Organização de Mulheres Negras

FASE – Federação de Órgãos para Assistência Social e Educacional

FDDI – Fórum de Defesa dos Direitos Indígenas

Fetopesca – Federação Tocantinense de Pescadores

Foca Brasil

FOIRN – Federação das Organizações Indígenas do Rio Negro

Fórum Carajás

Fórum Nacional de Mulheres Negras

Fundação Oásis Cidade Aberta

FVA – Fundação Vitória Amazônica


Grupo Afirmação Homossexual Potiguar - GAHP

GTA – Grupo de Trabalho Amazônico

HAY – Hutukara Associação Yanomami

IBASE – Instituto Brasileiro de Análises Sociais e Econômicas

ICV – Instituto Centro de Vida

IEPÉ – Instituto de Pesquisa e formação em educação indígena

Igreja Batista Novo Israel

IIEB – Instituto Internacional de Educação do Brasil


IMAZON – Instituto do Homem e do Meio Ambiente da Amazônia

INESC – Instituto de Estudos Socioeconômicos

Instituto Ambiental Vidágua

Instituto Equit - Gênero, Economia e Cidadania Local

Instituto Ethos de Empresas e Responsabilidade Social

Instituto Matogrossense de Direito e Educação Ambiental

IOS – Instituto Observatório Social

IPESA – Instituto de Pesquisas e Projetos Socioambientais

ISA – Instituto Socioambiental

Justiça Global


MNDH – Movimento Nacional de Direitos Humanos

Movimento Mulheres pela Paz!

MQV– Movimento Pela Qualidade de Vida MSM – Movimento dos Sem-Mídia


NEMA – Núcleo de Estudos de Etnologia Indígena, Meio Ambiente e Populações Tradicionais da PUC-SP

OELA – Oficina Escola Lutherana da Amazônia



Ponto de Cultura Invenção Brasileira

Rede Brasileira de Informação Ambiental

Rede de Integração Verde

Rede Internacional BECE-REBIA

Rede Social de Justiça e Direitos Humanos

Saúde e Alegria

SBPC – Sociedade Brasileira para o Progresso da Ciência

Terra de Direitos


Vitae Civilis

Web Rádio Brasil Indígena


Alceu Rodrigues de Freitas

Alexandre de Mattos Melo

Anápuáka Muniz Pataxó Hã-hã-hãe

Andréia Galvão

Anna Maria Saraiva

Anna Penido

Antônio Dimas Galvão

Aparecido Araújo Lima

Augusto Marcos de Oliveira Santiago

Beatriz Carolina Gonçalves

Bruno Schultze

Daniella Vanêssa Abrantes Martins

Danielle C. Celentano Augusto

Débora Zanon

Deborah Lima

Douglas Ferreira Gadelha Campelo

Elaine Moreira

Eliane Potiguara

Eduardo Viveiros de Castro

Fabiana Itaci Corrêa de Araujo

Fábio Augusto Nogueira Ribeiro

Fernanda de Andrade Santos

Fernando Antonio Lourenço

Fernando de Luiz Brito Vianna

Geraldo Mosimann da Silva

Giovana Acácia Tempesta

Jether Ramalho

José Carlos Santana

Leonardo Pires Rosse

Lia Osorio Machado

Luciana Scanoni

Luiz Fernandes de Oliveira Neto

Magda von Brixen und Montzel

Manuela Carneiro da Cunha

Marcelo Sampaio Carneiro

Marcos Simões dos Santos

Maria Beatriz Ramos de Vasconcellos Coelho

Maria Coleta Oliveira

Maria de Fatima Bastos Machado

Maria José da Silva Aquino

Maria Lucia Gomide

Maria Lucia Montes

Maria Odileiz Sousa Cruz

Maurice Tomioka Nilsson

Mauro W Barbosa de Almeida

Maxim Repetto

Nádia Farage

Nelson Wisnik

Nilce da Penha Migueles Panzutti

Otávio Velho

Pablo Gonzales Olalla

Paulo Dalgalarrondo

Paulo Roberto e Souza

Pedro Paulo Gomes Pereira

Rachel de Las Casas

Ralph Panzutti

Reinaldo Imbrozio Barbosa

Renato Manjaterra Loner

Renato Simões

Roberta Assadourian Santana

Rosângela Pereira de Tugny

Ruben Caixeta de Queiroz

Sandra Wellington

Sergio Lisse

Sergio Roberto Regis Paes

Stephen G. Baines

Urildo de Alcântara Campos

Vanderlei Gussonato

Vincenzo Lauriola

Walderez Nosé Hassenpflug

Walison Vasconcelos Pascoal

To join in write to comunicacao@coiab.com.br and apoiorss@gmail.com


ISA, Instituto Socioambiental.