The case concerns 152 communities affected by the failure to issue land titles, the expropriation of land and the unconsulted installation of an aerospace base.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) will review the case of the Quilombola communities of Alcântara, in Brazil, whose right to collective property has been affected. The case involves 152 communities affected by the failure to issue title deeds to their lands and the installation of an aerospace base on their territory without consultation.

The IACHR Court will also have to rule on the expropriation of their lands and territories, which occurred in 1980, and the lack of judicial remedies to remedy this situation. The Quilombolas, mostly of indigenous and African descent, claim approximately 85,537 hectares of ancestral lands and territories. Expropriated lands.

The expropriation of their lands took place in 1980 when the government, run by a military dictatorship, declared 52,000 hectares of the territory inhabited by 32 Quilombola communities to be of “public utility”. “The Brazilian state expropriated these hectares, resettled the inhabitants in seven agrovillages, and initiated the creation of the Alcântara Launch Centre (CLA) to develop a national space programme.

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), in a communiqué, also notes that the Brazilian state “failed to comply with its international obligations”. Unfulfilled obligations According to the IACHR, which brought this case before the IACHR Court on 5 January, the non-resettled communities of Alcântara do not have collective property titles “despite the steps taken”. In addition, the communities that were resettled have been harmed because their “right to property” and “prior consultation” were not respected, nor were they granted “full compensation”, they say. Meanwhile, they add, the development of the aerospace base “altered the way of life of all the communities, given that they are based on a system of exchange of goods and resources”.

For all these reasons, the IACHR holds the Brazilian state responsible for the violation of a series of rights, including the right to personal integrity, the right to property, and the right to equality before the law. Although the IACHR issued recommendations to the State to adopt measures in relation to this case, the future of the communities will now be in the hands of the IACHR Court.