Brazil: Setting an Important Precedent for Indigenous Lands
Raposa Serra do Sol is in the Amazon jungle state of Roraima at the northwestern tip of Brazil, a land of water and abundance.
The 1.7 million hectare reserve was officially demarcated by the government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva in 2005, after judicial appeals and debates that dragged on for nearly two decades. The decision was based on the principles laid down in the 1988 constitution.
The Supreme Court is set to decide next week whether or not to uphold the demarcation of the reservation as a single, unbroken territory.
The reservation is home to more than 19,000 members of the Macuxí, Wapixana, Taurepang, Patamona and Ingarikó indigenous communities.
But since 1992, invasions of indigenous land by large-scale rice producers have become frequent, and in just 13 years, rice plantations in the area covered by the reservation grew sevenfold, to 14,000 hectares.
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