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Lula's partial veto of the "marco temporal" bill undermining indigenous reserves

On October 20th, the President of Brazil vetoed part of the "marco temporal" bill, which seriously undermined the fundamental rights of indigenous peoples to their ancestral lands.

The "temporal framework" argument, promoted by agribusiness lobbies, maintains that the territorial claims of indigenous peoples can only relate to the lands they occupied when the new Brazilian Constitution was promulgated in 1988. However, this view obscures a large part of Brazilian history by denying the forced deportations of many indigenous communities during the military dictatorship. This bill also threatens the existence of a third of the indigenous territories already legally recognised in Brazil.

Although the Supreme Court had already declared the concept unconstitutional on September 21th, the Senate decided to ignore the court ruling a few days later by simply approving the bill on September 27th. Only the President of Brazil could still oppose it by refusing to sign the implementing decree.

On October 20th, Lula vetoed a large part of the bill, removing the notion of a "temporal framework". However, the fight is not over. Certain provisions were maintained and still pose a risk to indigenous peoples in the name of national sovereignty (art. 20) or cooperation between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples (art. 26), an abstract notion that leaves a great deal of room for discretion, still potentially threatening the existence of indigenous reserves. Finally, it should be noted that the Lower House of Parliament and the Senate have scheduled a joint session to assess the President's veto and can, in the event of an absolute majority in both houses, still proclaim the law.


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