Karipuna Indigenous People sue Brazilian state for allowing land-grabs in their home

São Paulo, Brazil

– The Karipuna Indigenous People filed a lawsuit against Brazil and the province of Rondônia, for allowing illegally registered private land plots inside their protected Indigenous land. The national environmental registry of rural property (Cadastro Ambiental Rural – CAR) is designed to ensure that all property falls within conservation and environmental laws, but is misused by groups or individuals to illegally claim land plots inside protected areas to expand their farm land for cattle grazing and legitimize illegal deforestation on Indigenous lands. These land-grabs, along with the lack of a protection plan for the Karipuna People’s territory by state bodies, are two of the main reasons that the Karipuna Indigenous land was among the top 10 most destroyed Indigenous lands in Brazil in 2020[1].

“We have been fighting against the destruction of our territory for years, now it’s time that the court holds the state responsible to ensure the protection of our home, that we soon can live in peace, according to our customs and traditions,” said Adriano Karipuna, leader of the Karipuna Indigenous People

“The actions of the Karipuna People and their allies have always focused on zero deforestation in the Karipuna land, urging the state to take its duty to enforce the original rights of the Indigenous Peoples.” said Laura Vicuña, missionary from CIMI.

An analysis by Greenpeace Brazil and Brazilian NGO Indigenist Missionary Council (CIMI), using publicly available data, shows that there are currently 31 land registries fully or partly overlapping the borders of the protected lands of the Karipuna Indigenous People[2]. The forest areas registered by individuals vary from one to 200 hectares. In many cases, illegal logging has already happened inside these claimed land plots[3]. All of them are within the protected Indigenous territory, and according to Greenpeace Brazil, this clearly shows how the CAR system is misused by individuals or groups to claim land plots without actually owning the land.

“The Karipuna Indigenous People are forced to watch their land being stolen for cattle grazing and the expansion of industrial agriculture because the Brazilian state allows criminal groups to continue their illegal land-grab. The CAR system enables stealing land from Indigenous People. This has to stop. The Brazilian state must establish a permanent protection plan involving various authorities, such as FUNAI and the federal police to guarantee the full protection of the Karipuna People, their land and culture, as it is stated in the Brazilian constitution and laws”, said Oliver Salge, International Project Leader of the All eyes on the Amazon Project with Greenpeace Brazil.

Greenpeace Brazil and CIMI support the legal case of the Karipuna People, and have been working together for three years to monitor and denounce forest destruction and environmental crimes. The monitoring operations of the Karipuna Indigenous People are part of the All Eyes on the Amazon project, which is led by Greenpeace Netherlands and Hivos together with nine human and Indigenous rights, environmental, science and technology organisations and supports Indigenous communities to perform forest monitoring with high-end technology in Brazil, Ecuador and Peru.

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