Brazil’s Supreme Court has found in favor of Amazonian Indians in a land dispute with farmers in the remote state of Roraima. The dispute concerned the 4.2 million acre Raposa Serra do Sol reservation and has been closely followed due to its potential importance to other cases involving Indian land rights and the future of the Amazon.
The Supreme Court president, Gilmar Mendes, called the decision precedent-setting in the area of Indian land rights for its in-depth analysis and its potential for application to other demarcation cases. However, Roraima leaders have stated that allowing the Indians to keep the land endangers national sovereignty and threatens economic growth in the state.
Brazil’s 1988 constitution called for the demarcation of Indian lands within five years but the Raposa Serra do Sol reservation was not created until 2005. Last year, violence broke out when authorities tried to evict the farmers. Nonetheless, there appeared to be calm after the ruling.
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