The recent vote in Brazil’s Chamber of Deputies to approve PL490 is the most serious and vicious attack on Indigenous rights in decades.
For anyone who thought that Bolsonaro’s defeat meant his agribusiness allies were defeated also, this has been a very nasty wake-up call.
It rips up the legal protections on Indigenous land, giving the big businesses and criminal gangs behind the logging and mining even more freedom to invade Indigenous territories and do what they like there.
If this passes into law it’ll be the kiss of death for the first peoples of Brazil and the highly biodiverse territories they protect in the Amazon and beyond. They’re fighting like hell to stop it, and Survival International, our supporters, and many other people around the world are fighting with them. Because this cannot be allowed to stand.
The key effects of the bill are:
It could allow any Indigenous territory in the country to be scrapped, or slashed in size, and replaced by mines, oil wells or other industrial projects.
Loggers, ranchers and others who have illegally invaded Indigenous territories will be allowed to remain there destroying the forest, until the lands are fully demarcated – a process that usually takes decades.
Government teams will be allowed to make forced contact with uncontacted tribes. Such contacts are almost always deadly.
Many Indigenous peoples will never be able to recover their land as the bill also boosts the Time Limit Trick, a pro-business ruse which states that Indigenous peoples who can’t prove they were on their land when the Constitution was enacted in October 1988 will never have their rights recognized.
Hundreds of Indigenous territories, home to over a million Indigenous people, could be destroyed.