European lawmakers urge Bolsonaro to stop “anti-indigenous” policies

Brazil's indigenous affairs agency
President Bolsonaro meets with Marcelo Xavier, president of Brazil’s indigenous affairs agency, and other native leaders. Photo: Isac Nóbrega/PR

Members of the European Parliament wrote a letter to President Jair Bolsonaro criticizing how the Brazilian government has handled issues related to its native populations — and Mr. Bolsonaro’s environmental policies. Signed by 50 lawmakers, the letter supports the Articulation of the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (Apib), whose members are currently camped out in Brasília to put pressure on political stakeholders against policies they consider “anti-indigenous.”

“Your government is advancing plans and policies that will push the Amazon past its tipping point and will end several indigenous rights protections,” reads the letter. “We call upon the Brazilian government to stop its anti-indigenous and anti-environment policies that cause the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.” 

The main concern for Apib is a Supreme Court trial which will decide on what constitutes a valid claim for a native territory. Rural landowners want all claims filed after the enactment of the 1988 Constitution to be ruled unlawful — while native groups urge justices to assert that historical attachment to land should make their territorial claims valid.