Brazil Begins Expelling ‘Strangers’ From Indigenous Lands In Landmark Move
The Brazilian government has started removing thousands of illegal settlers from the Apyterewa and Trincheira Bacaja lands in Para state.
Announcing the move, the Brazilian intelligence agency ABIN did not say whether or not the expulsion of non-Indigenous people had been entirely peaceful.
The native territories are located around the municipalities of Sao Felix do Xingu, Altamira, Anapu and Senador Jose Porfirio in Para state.
Illegal Settlers Threatening Indigenous Lands
“The presence of strangers on Indigenous land threatens the integrity of the Indigenous [people] and causes other damages,” ABIN said in its statement.
About 1,600 families lived illegally in that region with some involved in illegal activities such as gold mining and cattle raising, the agency noted.
According to official data, the native Apyterewa territory had the most deforestation of any Indigenous land in Brazil for four years running.
Lula Rebuilding Environment Protection Agencies
Other authorities that participated in the action on Monday included Brazil’s ministry of Indigenous peoples, the federal police and armed forces, among many others.
Several of those bodies had their powers limited during the far-right administration of former President Jair Bolsonaro between 2019 and 2022.
However, soon after the beginning of his administration, the incumbent President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been rebuilding environment protection agencies.
Amazon Deforestation Drops In A Reversing Trend
After years of rising chaos, deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon dropped by 33.6% during the first six months of Lula’s term, reversing the trend during Bolsonaro’s reign.
The new government satellite data is an encouraging sign for the new leader, whose last year’s election campaign included promises to undo environmental devastation.
Brazil is now prioritising environmental law enforcement. But the essential task has been challenging owing to continued shortages of personnel.