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Brazil: ill-treatment / fear for safety: Adao Soares, Joao Andre and other members of the Macuxi indigenous community

, رقم الوثيقة: AMR 19/001/1995

AI is concerned for the safety of the Macuxi indigenous community as tensions between them and Roraima state military police rise over the Macuxi's protest at the building of a bydroelectric dam which may affect their land. Members of the state military police and the army are reported to have expelled some 400 Macuxi from their Tamandua livestock holding area on 7 January 1995. Women, children and old people were among those expelled. Nine Indians were reportedly beaten and kicked and Adao Soares and Joao Andre were reportedly detained in handcuffs for several hours. When some 170 Macuxi tried to reclaim the land on 14 January, they were violently prevented from doing so. The military police have now constructed a blockade to prevent the Macuxi returning to the area. There are serious fears of violence ensuing between Macuxi and the military police.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 19/01/95
Distr: UA/SC
UA 18/95 Ill-treatment / Fear for safety 20 January 1995
BRAZIL Adão Soares, Macuxi cow herder
João André, Macuxi leader (Tuxawa)
and other members of the Macuxi indigenous community
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of members of the Macuxi
indigenous community as tensions between them and Roraima state military police
rise over the Macuxi's protest at the building of a hydroelectric dam which
may affect their land.
On 7 January 1995, 50 members of the Roraima state military police and seven
members of the Army are reported to have expelled some 400 members of the Macuxi
indigenous community of Caraparu II - including women children and elders -
from their Tamandua livestock-holding area (retiro Tamanduá). Nine Macuxi
Indians were reportedly beaten with rifle butts and kicked. Adão Soares and
João André sustained injuries and were detained in handcuffs for several hours.
Three houses, a cattle coral and a livestock pen were destroyed. The livestock
area is some 500 metres from the site of exploratory works for a proposed
hydroelectric dam on the Cotingo River.
On 14 January some 170 Macuxi Indians returned to the livestock area and began
working the land. Twelve members of the military police reportedly arrived
and began to cut down hammocks and destroy food and cooking pots the Indians
had brought with them. When the Indians tried to prevent them doing so, military
police allegedly beat 14 of them and fired several rounds of ammunition at
their belongings.
The military police have now constructed a blockade preventing the Macuxi from
returning to their livestock area. On 18 January four Federal Police officers
and two members of the Government's Indian Agency FUNAI (Fundação do Indio)
accompanied three Macuxi leaders to negotiate with the Commander of Military
Police. They were refused access to the livestock holding, and allegedly told
that the military police would "use their last bullet" "gastariam até o último
cartucho" against any attempt by the Indians to return to the area.
Federal police agents are quoted as stating that military police have been
intimidating the Macuxi communities by circling over their villages in
helicopters, hooded and dressed in camouflage and pointing weapons down at
the Indians. In protest at the expulsion, hundreds of members of Macuxi
communities in other parts of the state are reported to now be converging on
the Caraparu II village. On 19 January they reportedly destroyed a government
airstrip, and have threatened to destroy other property if the military police
do not withdraw from the area. Federal Police agents have called for military
police to be withdrawn, but have themselves left the area fearing that violence
will ensue.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The Caraparu II Macuxi community is protesting the construction of a
hydroelectric dam on the Cotingo River. Plans drawn up by the Roraima state
government for the hydroelectric dam fail to indicate what area of land will
be flooded. The Macuxi fear that as many as four Macuxi villages and surrounding
land and fishing areas may be affected and that they will be displaced from
lands which in 1993 the Federal Government had formally identified as
2
indigenous, although they have not yet been fully demarcated.
Under the Brazilian Constitution, authorization for the construction of
hydroelectric dams on indigenous land must be approved by Congress. Preliminary
works for the Cotingo dam have proceeded on the orders of the Roraima state
government in the absence of either congressional approval, or a permit from
the Waters and Electric Energy Authority, and in the face of reservations
expressed by the National Electricity Company (Eletrobras). Under Brazilian
law, Federal Police are responsible for dealings with members of indigenous
communities, not state police, in recognition of the likely conflict between
the interests of indigenous communities guaranteed by the nation, and the local
economic interests of state governments.
Macuxi Indians seeking demarcation of their lands in Roraima state, have been
the repeated target of raids on their communities and ill-treatment by members
of the state military police.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in Portuguese or in your own language:
- expressing concern at reports of the violent expulsion of Macuxi Indians
of the Caraparu II village (maloca Caraparu II) from their livestock-holding
(retiro Tamanduá) by members of the Roraima state military police and that
on both 7 and 14 January 1995, military police beat, kicked and wounded several
Macuxi Indians;
- calling for a full inquiry into the military police operation directed against
the Macuxi indigenous community in the north of Roraima state, and that those
responsible for abuses be brought to justice;
- urging that the Federal Government take immediate steps to guarantee the
lives and physical integrity of members of the Macuxi indigenous community
in the north of Roraima state.
APPEALS TO:
Minister of Justice
Exmo. Sr. Ministro da Justiça
Sr. Nelson Jobim
Ministério da Justiça
Esplanada dos Ministérios, Bloco 23
70.064 Brasília, DF, BRAZIL
Telegrams: Ministro da Justiça, Brasília, Brazil
Faxes: +55 61 224 2448
Salutation : Vossa Excelência / Your Excellency
Attorney General
Exmo Sr. Procurador Geral da República
Dr. Aristides Junqueira
Procuradoria Geral da República
Av. L2 Sul - Q. 603 - lote 23
70.200 Brasília, DF, BRAZIL
Faxes: +55 61 313 5115
Telegrams: Procuradoria Geral da República, Brasília, Brazil
Salutation : Vossa Excelência / Your Excellency
Federal Procurator in Roraima state
Exmo Sr Procurador Federal
Carlos Frederico Santos
Procuradoria Federal da República
3
Rua General Penha Brasil 1511
69.305-130 Boa Vista, RR, Brazil
Faxes: +55 95 224 3997
Telegrams: Procurador Federal, Roraima, Brazil
Salutation: Vossa Excelência / Your Excellency
COPIES TO:
The Indigenous Council of Roraima
(all Indian organization)
Conselho Indigena de Roraima
Caixa Postal 163
70.300 Boa Vista, RR Brazil
and to diplomatic representatives of Brazil accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your Section office, if sending appeals after 11 March 1995.

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