Apib* demands that President Lula be consistent with his environmentalist discourse and veto the entire bill that threatens indigenous lands.

Following the approval of Bill 2903 (PL2903) by the Federal Senate (27/09), the Brazilian indigenous movement is mobilising in the villages, in the cities and internationally, demanding that President Lula veto the bill known as “legislated genocide”. This week APIB, together with other civil society organisations, sent an urgent appeal to the United Nations, denouncing the imminent violations that will become a reality if PL2903 is not vetoed in its entirety.

“After years of setbacks, the election of President Lula presents a resumption of Brazil’s socio-environmental commitments. However, international announcements need to be translated into concrete action at the national level,” they said.

The Senate approved on 27 September the bill that seeks to legalise the Temporary Framework thesis for the demarcation of indigenous territories, along with other crimes that threaten Brazil’s native peoples. The bill PL 2.903/2023 is being reviewed by the Presidency of the Republic: President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has until 18 October to condemn or veto (totally or partially) the bill. Apib demands a complete veto of the bill and asks Lula for a commitment to respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as to guarantee the protection of Indigenous Lands as they represent a safeguard against global climate change.

PL 2903, baptised by the indigenous movement as the PL of Indigenous Genocide, seeks to legalise social and environmental crimes, and represents a threat to the lives of Indigenous Peoples in Brazil. In addition to the Temporary Framework, the PL includes the relaxation of the policy of no contact with Indigenous Peoples in voluntary isolation and opens the possibility for the production of commodities and the construction of infrastructure on Indigenous Lands, among other violations of indigenous rights. Following the 27 September decision of the Brazilian Supreme Court that determined that the Temporary Framework is unconstitutional, and in line with the position of the current Brazilian government, which has committed itself to respecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples, Apib demands that Lula completely veto all points of the PL of Indigenous Genocide.

The Articulation, together with other civil society organisations, has sent an urgent appeal to the United Nations (UN) denouncing the violence suffered by Indigenous Peoples in Brazil, warning about the approval of PL 2903 and requesting support to ask Lula to veto the bill.

Although the thesis of the Temporary Framework was annulled and considered unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, the ruralist Senate bench accelerated the vote and approved the PL on Indigenous Genocide. Bolsonaro left the presidency but Bolsonarism and the indigenous genocidaires persist, and have a majority in Congress.

It is impossible to combat climate change without demarcation of Indigenous Lands.

Elected as an alternative to the anti-indigenous conservatism of former president Jair Bolsonaro and under the promise to completely eradicate deforestation in the Amazon by 2030, President Lula now has the opportunity to ratify his commitment to protecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples and combating the climate crisis. PL 2903 represents a threat to the future global climate and the planet’s biodiversity, both of which are guaranteed in part thanks to environmental protection within Indigenous Lands.

Apib warns that in addition to the Temporary Framework, PL 2903 seeks to legalise crimes committed against Indigenous Peoples in favour of the political and economic interests of agribusiness backed by the ruralist Senate bench. The Articulation points out seven other proposals of the Indigenous Genocide PL that should be vetoed by Lula, as they represent crimes against Indigenous Peoples and a threat to all humanity:

  1. It establishes racist criteria on who is or is not indigenous:
  2. Authorises the construction of highways, hydroelectric dams and other works on Indigenous Lands without prior, free and informed consultation;
  3. Allows monocultures, soybean cultivation, cattle ranching, promotion of mining and extraction of mineral resources on Indigenous Lands;
  4. Opens the possibility of questioning the processes of demarcation of territories, including those of Indigenous Lands that have already been demarcated;
  5. Recognises the legitimacy of land possession of encroachers on Indigenous Lands;
  6. Relax the policy of no contact with Indigenous Peoples in voluntary isolation;
  7. Modifies constitutional concepts of indigenist policy, such as the traditional nature of occupation, the original right and the exclusive usufruct of Indigenous Peoples over their territories.

Eradicating deforestation and meeting climate targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (known as NDCs) will become unattainable commitments if PL 2903 is approved and some of the country’s lands with the lowest deforestation rates and highest biodiversity are allowed to be destroyed. In the last 30 years, Brazil has lost 69 million hectares of native vegetation. However, only 1.6% of this deforestation was registered within Indigenous Lands. The only way to preserve all of Brazil’s biomes and build coherent policies against climate change is to guarantee full access of Indigenous Peoples to their territories.

In December, Brazil will assume the presidency of the G20 under the banner of justice and sustainability, but the world’s economic future will be stained with blood if the violence suffered by Indigenous Peoples as a result of the growth of devastating criminal activities is not stopped. In her lecture at the opening of the UN General Assembly, Lula reaffirmed his commitment to implement the 17 Sustainable Development Goals in an integral and indivisible manner, and stated that “in Brazil, we have already demonstrated once and we will do it again that a socially just and environmentally sustainable model is possible”. However, there is no social justice possible without guaranteeing the lives of traditional populations, and there is no environmentally sustainable model if the forests and jungles do not remain standing. Therefore, the fight against climate change is only possible with the respect and demarcation of Indigenous Lands.

Mobilisations against the Temporary Framework

The indigenous movement carried out approximately 300 mobilisations against the Temporary Framework thesis so far in 2023. These mobilisations took place between May and September, organised and coordinated by Apib and its seven regional grassroots organisations.

Lula, veto everything! Support the indigenous movement and say no to the Indigenous Genocide Bill. Join the campaign #VetaTudoLulaPL2903. Tag President Lula on social media, organise actions in communities, cities and networks. Support the indigenous movement and pressure President Lula to keep his commitment to respect Indigenous Peoples’ rights and fight climate change.
The Temporary Framework is a political thesis backed by agribusiness and ignores the Supreme Court decision.

After a two-year process, on 27 September, Brazil’s Supreme Court overturned the Temporary Framework proposal by a 9-2 majority vote and added a condition of compensation for those who own property in an area recognised as Indigenous Land for demarcation. However, under an urgency process, on the same day, the Senate voted on PL 2903, which finally passed with 43 votes in favour and 21 against.

Apib stresses that the Senate’s actions defy the Supreme Court to serve the interests of agribusiness and Brazilian politicians who have direct links to the invasion of indigenous lands, as demonstrated in the dossier “The invaders” by the journalistic group De olho nos ruralistas. According to the study, representatives of the National Congress and the Executive hold around 96,000 hectares of land overlapping indigenous lands. In addition, many of them received funding from the invading farmers of the Indigenous Lands, who donated 3.6 million reais to the ruralistas’ electoral campaign. These invaders supported 29 political campaigns in 2022 with a total of R$5,313,843.44. Of this total, R$1,163,38.00 went to the defeated candidate, Jair Bolsonaro (PL).

Furthermore, following the annulment of the Temporary Framework in the STF, Senator Dr. Hiran (PP-RR) presented on 21 September a Constitutional Amendment Proposal (PEC) that seeks to establish the Temporary Framework. Named PEC 048/2023, the amendment seeks to modify the 1988 Federal Constitution, which recognises the original right of indigenous peoples over traditionally occupied lands.

The Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (Apib) is a national reference body of the indigenous movement in Brazil, created from the grassroots up. It brings together seven regional indigenous organisations (Apoinme, ArpinSudeste, ArpinSul, Aty Guasu, Consejo Terena, Coaib and Comisión Guarani Yvyrupa) and was created with the purpose of strengthening the unity of our peoples, promoting coordination between the different regions and indigenous organisations in the country, as well as mobilising indigenous peoples and organisations against threats and aggressions against indigenous rights.