Lula’s government to approve the demarcation of thirteen new indigenous lands

File – Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva with the Minister of Indigenous Peoples Sonia Guajajara. – Christophe Gateau/dpa

After four years in which Jair Bolsonaro refused to cede a single centimeter for the demarcation of new indigenous lands, the government of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva plans to hand over thirteen new territories to these communities, or in other words, 843,000 more hectares of protected areas.

«The thirteen new lands represent more than a demarcation, they are a sign of reparation for the violations of the rights of indigenous peoples in recent years», assured the executive coordinator of the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil, Dinamam Tuxá.

Brazil has eight homologated and 441 regularized indigenous lands, corresponding to 107.2 million hectares, 12.5 percent of the Brazilian State. The last areas to be recognized may have already been approved in previous governments. However, former President Bolsonaro refused to do so.

The new measure will benefit more than 16,800 people spread over fifteen indigenous peoples spread throughout Brazil, but especially in the Amazon. In these areas, land rental will be forbidden, as well as hunting, fishing and mineral exploitation to anyone outside these communities, requiring in the latter case the permission of Congress.

The new authorities have criticized the fact that the homologation of these lands as protected areas has not been confirmed in recent years, since the demarcation work had already been carried out. Therefore, all that is needed is the signature of the president, in this case of Lula, who is expected to do so before the first 100 days of his term of office, according to the newspaper ‘O Globo’.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Environment, Marina Silva, announced on Monday that the government will use the reserved financing of the Amazon Fund to help solve the humanitarian crisis of the Yanomami people, the main indigenous community of Brazil, seriously hit in recent years amid complaints about the omission of the previous Bolsonaro government.

«The resources of the Amazon Fund will be destined to emergency actions», which, he explained, are being analyzed at various levels, such as the health and food crisis that «are plaguing these communities», as well as security, which means putting an end to the intrusion of «criminal» illegal mining.

Created in 2008, the Amazon Fund finances actions to reduce the ravages of deforestation. In addition to supporting the communities living in these regions and the NGOs working with them, resources also go to local governments to enable them to carry out environmental prevention measures.

The fund receives international funding, with Germany and Norway contributing almost all of the resources available to it. In 2019, the fund’s actions were paralyzed, after Bolsonaro decided to suspend the committees in charge of establishing action guidelines.