The Constitution and Justice Committee (CCJ) of the Senate votes this Wednesday morning (27) on Bill (PL) 2903/2023, which establishes the time frame for indigenous lands. On the afternoon of the same day, the Federal Supreme Court (STF) analyzed points that were left out of the analysis of the legal thesis, such as compensation for farmers.
Through PL 2903, ruralist senators propose not only to implement the time frame overturned by the STF, but also to legitimize invasions of indigenous lands by making them available, without prior consultation with residents, agribusiness and large enterprises, such as hydroelectric plants, mining, highways and railways.
Read more: Indigenous people threatened by the time frame celebrate victory in the STF: ‘now we can breathe’
Among the most explicit setbacks to indigenous rights provided for by PL 2903 is the section that says that “there will be no limitation on the use and enjoyment of non-indigenous people” who occupy indigenous territories “before the demarcation process is completed”.
Anyone who advances on indigenous lands will be “guaranteed to remain in the area subject to demarcation”. The text considers all constructions erected in the area to be demarcated as “in good faith” and, therefore, subject to compensation.
Throwbacks “Fruit Salad”
Indigenous leaders interviewed by Brasil de Fato state that the ruralist bench is affronting the STF by defending the time frame, which had its unconstitutionality recognized by the Court.
Indigenous people expect the project to be approved in the Senate, due to the massive support it received from agribusiness. After passing through the CCJ, the matter goes to a vote in the House plenary, before proceeding to presidential sanction.
:: In historic judgment, STF overturns time frame for indigenous lands by 9 votes against 2 ::
“I see PL 2903 as a fruit salad. They took all the matters that put the lives of indigenous peoples at risk and put them forward without discussion. We hope that President Lula does not sanction it”, said Eliane Xunakalo, president of the Federation of Indigenous Peoples and Organizations of Mato Grosso (FEPOIMT).
By eliminating the need for prior consultation with original peoples, FEPOIMT fears that PL 2903 will make it possible, at the drop of a hat, to build Ferrogrão, a railway corridor that will transport corn and soybeans between Sinop (MT) and Itaituba (PA). ), with the aim of enhancing the export of agricultural commodities. The lack of consent from the original peoples is one of the irregularities that led the Supreme Court to suspend construction.
Appendices to PL 2903 bring setbacks
PL 2903 is the Senate numbering of PL 490, approved by the Chamber in May this year. While the base text provides for the application of the time frame for indigenous lands, there are more than 10 attached bills, that is, attached to the original matter, which institute even more serious setbacks than the legal thesis declared unconstitutional by the STF.
Among the biggest concerns of the Indigenous Council of Roraima (CIR) with those attached is the proposal to expropriate indigenous territories “due to changes in the cultural traits of the community or other factors caused by the passage of time” and the prohibition on expanding lands indigenous people. The state has 23 lands with requests for expansion and another four in the process of demarcation.
:: Validation of the time frame could worsen violence against the Guarani Kaiowá ::
“PL 2903 violates the right of indigenous peoples to free, prior and informed consultation, provided for by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and confirmed by Brazil. We killed the snake when the time frame was overturned in the STF, but now we need to kill the children of that snake”, stated the general coordinator of the CIR, in reference to the processing of the legal thesis in Congress.
Edinho recalled that the PL would prevent the official recognition of the communities of São Francisco and Kaxirimã, which were left out of the demarcation of the Raposa Serra do Sol Indigenous Land, and the communities of Lago da Praia, in the Murupu region, and Arapuá, in the Taiano region, whose “Island” demarcation causes disputes over land and access to natural resources.
In Roraima, approval would also stop the expansion of the Araçá, Ponta da Serra, Aningal, Anaro and Serra da Moça lands, which had territories excluded in the original demarcation process.
Ruralists face STF
The ruralist bench, the largest in the National Congress, raised its tone against the STF after the Court invalidated the time frame for indigenous lands and is in a hurry to approve the unconstitutional legal thesis.
In a press conference last week, the leader of the Agricultural Parliamentary Front (FPA), deputy Pedro Lupion, stated that “it is no longer possible to accept the expansion of the Judiciary’s powers” and that the STF has instituted “barbarity” in the countryside.
José Medeiros (PL-MT), Bolsonaro senator and representative of the landowners, declared that the Legislature “will react”. He promised that the ruralist group, the largest in Congress, decided to paralyze votes until the time frame is approved in the House.
:: Validation of the time frame should worsen the ‘Dendê War’ in Pará ::
On another front of action to achieve the time frame, Senator Dr. Hiran (PP-RR) filed this Friday (22) a proposed amendment to the Constitution (PEC) that calls for the establishment of the time frame for the demarcation of lands indigenous people.
The text considers the day of promulgation of the Constitution – October 5, 1988 – as a benchmark for guaranteeing the right to land: only people who were in the territory at that time would have the right to demarcation.
AGU says that PL 2903 is unconstitutional
The Minister of Indigenous Peoples, Sonia Guajajara, and the Minister of the Environment, Marina Silva, met with the President of the Senate, Rodrigo Pacheco (PSD-MG), to seek support from the President of the House against the proposed bills. An opinion from the Attorney General’s Office (AGU) in response to the Indigenous Peoples’ department pointed out unconstitutionalities regarding PL 2903.
“Given the firmness with which the Constituent decided to conduct the issue relating to the demarcation of indigenous lands, it must be borne in mind that any legislative proposal regarding this point must be guided by the same search for speed and efficiency determined by the Citizen Charter. The legislative proposal under examination (PL 2903), however, established conditions that differ from the constitutional text on the demarcation process, heading in the opposite direction to such commands”, wrote the AGU.
Who has the last word, STF or Congress?
But who has the legitimacy to define the application of the time frame: Congress or the STF? Brasil de Fato has already consulted legal experts to clarify the issue.
:: Understand what happens if the STF and Congress make different decisions about the time frame ::
“Although there are several actors seeking to regulate the issue, the prerogative of interpreting the Federal Constitution belongs to the Supreme Court, as well as modulating its understandings”, said Nicolas Nascimento, lawyer and legal advisor to the Indigenous Missionary Council (Cimi).
“The Judiciary has the legitimacy to overturn a law that contradicts the law, as in the case of the time frame, without this meaning disharmony between the powers of the Republic”, agreed the lawyer, master in anthropology and doctoral candidate at the Federal University of Amazonas (UFAM) , Felipe Jucá.
“The same subject discussed in different powers causes the tension we are observing. And if the Legislature finally approves the time frame, nothing prevents this new law from also being judicialized”, explained Jucá, who is also a researcher linked to the Nova Social Cartography project at Amazon.
Editing: Vivian Virissimo