Photo: Tukumã Pataxó/Apib

After two years of trial, Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court (STF) concluded its decision on the unconstitutionality of the Time Frame thesis on the 27th and reaffirmed the original right of Indigenous Peoples to the exclusive use of their ancestral territories. However, on the same day, the Federal Senate urgently approved Bill 2,903/2023, which aims to turn the Time Frame thesis into law and legalize various other violations of indigenous rights.

“The Senate seeks to perpetuate the indigenous genocide. This bill legalizes crimes that threaten indigenous lives and intensify the climate crisis. The bill is unconstitutional, and the STF has already annulled the Time Frame thesis, but the project contains many other setbacks to indigenous rights beyond this frame. We continue to fight and ask President Lula to veto this bill and fulfill his commitment to Indigenous Peoples,” emphasized Kleber Karipuna, Executive Coordinator of the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (Apib). The speed with which the bill’s process was expedited in the Senate is due to pressure from the ruralist caucus and large business groups that would be the sole beneficiaries of the Time Frame thesis’s approval.

The vote in the Senate resulted in 43 in favor and 21 against PL 2903. Among those who supported the legalization of genocide were Senators Marcos Rogério (DEM-RO), who invaded 98 hectares of indigenous land in the Jamari Valley in Rondônia; Jaime Bagattoli, who encroached on over 2,000 hectares of the Rio Omerê Indigenous Land; and Senator Tereza Cristina, former Minister of Agriculture in Bolsonaro’s anti-indigenous government.

After the Senate approved PL 2903, it is now up to the Presidency of the Federal Government to review and issue an opinion. President Lula has 15 business days from the publication of the project to decide on its approval or veto. Apib demands that President Lula veto the clearly unconstitutional PL and maintain his commitment to respecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples, as publicly expressed during his participation in the Terra Livre Camp (ATL) in 2022 and 2023.

The Supreme Court concludes that the Time Frame thesis is unconstitutional but approves new compensation conditions for the demarcation of Indigenous Lands

Last Thursday (09/21), with a result of 9 votes in favor and 2 against the Time Frame thesis, the STF achieved an important victory in the fight for the rights of Indigenous Peoples. However, some proposals presented by certain ministers opened a debate on the negotiation of indigenous rights. The proposal to relax the exploitation of resources in Indigenous Lands, allowing natural and mineral exploration, was excluded from the trial, while the thesis of prior compensation was left for the second negotiation yesterday when the 11 ministers met again to define the details of the final decision against the Time Frame thesis.

Despite the majority expressing support for the unconstitutionality of the thesis, the STF recognized criteria for prior compensation to occupants of Indigenous Lands. With this decision, invaders can receive prior compensation from the State for the value of the invaded land and potential assets that may have been worked on and built on it. Given Brazil’s history of land grabbing, this compensation proposal opens the door to increased land corruption and rewards invaders of indigenous territories.

Who benefits from the Time Frame thesis? The ruralist caucus in the Senate secures the majority to approve the Time Frame bill

On the same day, at the same time that the conclusion of the Supreme Court’s final vote on the unconstitutionality of the Time Frame thesis was announced, the Senate turned a deaf ear and advanced the violation of indigenous rights by approving PL 2903, which Apib has called the “Genocide Bill” due to various unconstitutionality and rights violations contained in the project.

The Genocide Bill proposes:

  • Conditioning the right to their ancestral territories only for peoples who were on them on October 5, 1988, the date of the Constitution’s promulgation (Time Frame thesis).
  • Authorizing the construction of roads, dams, and other works in Indigenous Lands without prior, free, and informed consultation.
  • Allowing soybean cultivation, cattle breeding, promotion of mining, and mineral extraction in Indigenous Lands.
  • Allowing anyone to question the processes of territory demarcation, including those that have already been demarcated.
  • Recognizing the legitimacy of land possession by invaders of Indigenous Lands.
  • Establishing racist criteria for determining who is or is not indigenous.
  • Relaxing the policy of no contact with indigenous peoples in voluntary isolation.
  • Reformulating constitutional concepts of indigenous policy, such as the traditionality of occupation, original rights, and the exclusive use of territories by Indigenous Peoples.

Among the threats, Apib highlights illegal occupation in some Indigenous Lands. Based on the cross-referencing of land data from the National Institute for Colonization and Agrarian Reform (Incra), the reports “The Invaders” conducted by De Olho nos Ruralistas show 1,692 overlapping farms in indigenous lands, representing 1.18 million hectares, and of that total, 95.5% are in territories pending demarcation. Brazilian politicians, representatives in the National Congress and the executive branch, own 96,000 hectares of properties that overlap illegally with Indigenous Lands. Furthermore, many of them were funded by farmer invaders of Indigenous Lands, who donated 3.6 million reais to the ruralists’ electoral campaign. This group of invaders funded 29 political campaigns in 2022, totaling 5,313,843.44 reais. Of this total, 1,163,385.00 reais were directed to the defeated candidate, Jair Bolsonaro (PL). It’s a lot of land for a few farmers.

About Apib

The Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (Apib) is a national reference body of the indigenous movement in Brazil, created from the bottom up. It brings together seven regional Indigenous organizations (Apoinme, ArpinSudeste, ArpinSul, Aty Guasu, Terena Council, Coaib, and Guarani Yvyrupa Commission) and was born with the purpose of strengthening the unity of our peoples, fostering coordination among different regions and Indigenous organizations in the country, as well as mobilizing Indigenous peoples and organizations against threats and violations of Indigenous rights.
For more information and to schedule interviews, you can contact the Apib press service:

[email protected]

Communication management – Samela Sateré Mawé – +55 (92) 98285 5077
International communication service – +55 (65) 99686 6289 / +55 (21) 96665 5518 / +55 (92) 99430-3762