Brazil promises backing for beleaguered indigenous people

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BRASÍLIA: Brazil’s government on Wednesday brushed off criticism that it is failing to protect vulnerable indigenous tribes in the wake of a bloody attack that left 13 people wounded. The assault on Sunday in northeastern Maranhao state, which targeted members of the Gamela tribe, is believed to have been linked to land disputes. Although Brazil’s 900,000 indigenous people—0.4 percent of the entire population—are meant to control about 12 percent of the country’s territory, the government’s failure to demarcate the exact boundaries has left them open to violent incursions from the farm industry. But Justice Minister Osmar Serraglio told reporters that Brazil’s native peoples had not been forgotten. “The government of President Michel Temer certainly wants to legalize the demarcation of the territories,” he said.”We will identify the reasons for why recognition of these lands has taken so long and is so complicated.” Serraglio has been strongly criticized for ties to the agribusiness lobby.

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AFP

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