More than 2,000 indigenous people were murdered between 2009 and 2019 in Brazil, according to unprecedented data released this Tuesday (31) by the Atlas of Violence 2021. In that decade, the rate of violent deaths of indigenous people increased by 21.6%, from 15 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2009 to 18.3 in 2019, a movement opposite to what happened with the general murder rate in the country, which went from 27.2 to 21.7 per 100,000 inhabitants.
It is the first time that the Atlas of Violence, created from a partnership between the Brazilian Forum on Public Security (FBSP), the Institute of Applied Economics (Ipea) and the Jones dos Santos Neves Institute (IJSN), and based on the figures presented by the Mortality Information System, from the Ministry of Health, publishes data on lethal violence against indigenous peoples.
- What is the time frame on indigenous lands and what is at stake in the STF judgment
Lethal violence against indigenous people — Photo: Arte/G1
In five states, the homicide rate of indigenous people exceeds that of the population as a whole in 2019 (see chart below):
Indigenous lethal violence rate in 5 states — Photo: Arte/G1
The rate is also higher in municipalities with indigenous lands, 20.4, than in cities without indigenous lands, with 7.7.
“The data show an increase in lethal violence against indigenous peoples and, especially, on indigenous lands. The municipalities that have indigenous lands are those that showed the most accentuated growth in the last decade, which is the result, to some extent, of invasions, illegal mining, a series of illegal activities that have been taking place, illegal exploitation of lands that are traditional territories”, says Samira Buena, executive director of the Brazilian Public Security Forum and coordinator of the Atlas.
As the specialists from Ipea and the Forum explain, the difficulty and lack of interest in the inspection and protection of indigenous territories open up possibilities of invasions for agricultural production and illegal exploitation of wood and minerals, among other activities, which contributes to the increase in violence.
“In a context of low public investments aimed at territorial, social and environmental protection, there are few territories that are legally protected exclusively for indigenous peoples or even that have infrastructure and public services adequate to the protection of people and collective survival”, says the study.
O G1 and GloboNews sought out the federal government and is awaiting a position.
The 2020 report of the Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI), referring to data from 2019, highlights the record of 256 cases of “possessory invasions, illegal exploitation of resources and damage to property” in at least 151 indigenous lands, from 143 peoples, in 23 states, in which there is an increase of 134.9% of cases registered in 2018.
In 2019, 113 murders and 20 involuntary homicides were registered, which, added to other cases of violence against the indigenous person, totaled 277 cases in 2019 – double the number registered in 2018.
The number of murders in 2019 could be even higher because, as the Atlas explains, there was a 35% increase in violent deaths from undetermined causes that year.
Recognized as an instrument of control or extermination, as the Atlas says, violence against indigenous peoples continues to characterize them as perennial victims, to the point of asserting that “original peoples are still present in this world, it is not because they were excluded , but because they escaped”, as the indigenous Ailton Krenak wrote.
Demarcations are even more threatened by the discussion in the Supreme Court (STF) of the so-called “time frame”. By this criterion, indigenous peoples can only claim the demarcation of lands that were already occupied by them before the date of promulgation of the 1988 Constitution.
The discussion puts ruralists and native peoples on opposite sides. The Bolsonaro government is in favor of the thesis. The decision could set the course for more than 300 processes of demarcation of indigenous lands that are open in the country. Indigenous people from all over Brazil camped on the Esplanada dos Ministérios in protest against the landmark.
“More than ever this is necessary. At a time when the Supreme Court is holding such an important debate about the traditional peoples of this country, and we have a cancellation of the Census [do IBGE], which is the only research that is capable of verifying the number of indigenous people in Brazil, this becomes even more important,” says Samira.
For experts, the physical and cultural protection of indigenous peoples are rarely considered in public strategies for planning, implementing actions and setting government goals on the issue.
“Last year, we had drawn up an Atlas of rural violence in Brazil. And, in that report, we already wrote that an increase in rural violence in Brazil was underway, especially in indigenous territories, in the Legal Amazon. We saw one. very troubled political-institutional environment, with a high probability of generating this problem of violence in the countryside. Organizations and institutes that should carry out inspections, such as IBAMA and other institutes, were weakened. And, in addition, there was a series of legislation that added fuel to the fire, such as the exploration of indigenous territories and the new land demarcation policy”, says Daniel Cerqueira, coordinator of the Atlas.
Brazil has registered at least 305 indigenous peoples, according to the IBGE 2012 census. Based on the self-declaration criterion, Brazil had 896.9 thousand indigenous peoples in 2010, which represented 0.4% of the national population. In 80.5% of the municipalities at least one self-declared indigenous person lived.
The majority, 58% (517,383), lived in indigenous lands and 42% were outside the territories. Across the country, cities were already home to 36% of the national indigenous population.