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As Raposa Serra do Sol is protected, precedent is set for indigenous land tenure
Historic settlement of Raposa Serra do Sol land case sets firm precedent for future indigenous land rights claims.
On Thursday, March 19th the Brazilian Supreme Court upheld a previous court decision to maintain the Raposa Serra do Sol Indigenous Reserve as a continuous area for the perpetuation of indigenous livelihoods. In the landmark decision, 1.7m ha of lands were asserted as belonging to the reserve's 18,000 indigenous inhabitants. In an Associated Press article covering the decision, Gilmer Mendes, a Supreme Court judge was quoted, "We've never had this deep of an analysis on the subject, and we've established a statute that has to be applied not only in the Raposa Serra do Sol case, but also in other cases of demarcation."
The Court's decision directs all non-indigenous residents (including industrial rice farmers) to vacate the Reserve. In an attempt to appease displaced farmers, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has ordered 5m ha of federal lands to be handed over to the the state of Roraima to be used in resettling farmers.
Posted By Lopaka Purdy at 11:45am on March 20, 2009
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