AMERICA/BRAZIL - The CIMI denounces murders of indigenous people and invasions for the exploitation of their lands

Brasilia (Agenzia Fides) - The Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI), organization of the Catholic Church in Brazil, presented in Brasilia the 2011 data on violence against indigenous peoples (see Fides 06/06/2012). The Annual Report of CIMI, prepared with people working in the field, reports that between 2000 and 2011 555 suicides of indigenous people in Mato Grosso do Sul were registered, the state with the largest ethnic group in the country, the Guarani Kaiowá. Only in 2011 there were 45 cases of indigenous people who committed suicide, three more compared to 2010. The alarming news is the increase of young people who kill themselves in this way: their age is between 14 and 18 and, when speaking of adults, between 21 and 30.
"The data presented in this report reveal the aggression on human dignity of indigenous peoples of Brazil, their pain and their suffering," writes Mgr. Erwin Kräutler, Bishop of the Prelature of Xingu in the Amazon and President of CIMI, in the introduction of document. The report shows an increase of "environmental damage", revealing that last year 42 cases of invasion for the "possession and illegal exploitation of natural resources" were reported, an increasing number compared to 2010.
The CIMI also criticizes "the slowness of the federal government in giving and demarcating the land to the indigenous," saying that this attitude "further exposes the territories to environmental degradation." "In 2011 only three lands were handed over by President Dilma Rousseff, the worst result in the first year of government since the time of Jose Sarney." Mgr. Erwin concludes by emphasizing the significance of the land for indigenous people: "For the indigenous land is survival, for society it is a mere commodity."(CE) (Agenzia Fides 14/6/2012)

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