Photo: Indian Protest in Brazil
The government of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff said Friday that a bill in Congress proposing new regulations for demarcating indigenous lands and which has aroused nationwide protests by Indians is “inopportune” and unconstitutional.
The government’s opinion was the result of a “profound judicial analysis,” Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo said in a statement.
Bill PEC 215 would shift control over the establishment and demarcation of indigenous reservations from the executive branch to Congress.
The bill, introduced by lawmakers with ties to agribusiness and mining interests, has been rejected by the Apib federation of indigenous peoples and other social movements, which this week have staged protests in Brasilia and other cities.
The bill “is not only unsuitable and inopportune, but also unconstitutional,” the Justice Ministry said.
It also said the bill “couldn’t even have been admitted for debate,” since it goes against Article 60 of the consitution, which prohibits measures aimed at undermining Brazil’s federal structure.
Approval of PEC 215 “would be a violation of the principle of the separation of powers and of the individual rights of Indians,” the Justice Ministry said.
Cardozo noted that the government “doesn’t give orders to the legislature,” but trusts that “its judicial position,” which it shares with the Supreme Court, will be “considered by the lawmakers.”