Man sentenced to jail for racism against Brazilian Indians 4 October 2011

Guarani inhabitants from the Ypo'i community, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. The lives and livelihood of the Guarani Indians in Mato Grosso do Sul are being seriously damaged by the denial of land rights.
Guarani inhabitants from the Ypo'i community, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil. The lives and livelihood of the Guarani Indians in Mato Grosso do Sul are being seriously damaged by the denial of land rights.
© CIMI/Survival

A man has been sentenced to jail in Brazil for racism against indigenous people, having described them as ‘vagrants’ and ‘tramps’ in a newspaper article.

The article says of indigenous people, including the Guarani Indians, ‘They take possession of the land like true vandals’.

The writer, Brazilian lawyer Isaac Duarte de Barros Júnior, continues, ‘The preservation of traditions which contradict modernity is retrograde and must end’.

He has been sentenced to two years imprisonment and could also be forced to pay millions of US dollars in compensation for moral damages, pending further court hearings.

Racism against the Guarani Indians is rife, but this is one of the very few cases in Brazil of a person being jailed for it.

There are over 40,000 Guarani in Brazil. Like many other tribes, they have a deep connection to their land on which they rely for their well-being.

But much of the Guarani’s land has been stolen from them to make way for cattle ranches and soya and sugar cane plantations. This has left many communities living in overcrowded reserves or camped beside main roads with little access to food or clean water.

The current boom in sugar cane production is taking over the Guarani's ancestral land, which used to total some 350,000 square kilometers in Brazil.
The current boom in sugar cane production is taking over the Guarani's ancestral land, which used to total some 350,000 square kilometers in Brazil.
© Survival

The Guarani’s demands for their ancestral lands to be returned to them and its occupants’ refusal to give way has created ethnic divisions in the area. Several Guarani have been killed after leading their communities to reoccupy their land.

Read about Survival’s Stamp it Out campaign and help combat racism against tribal peoples.

 

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