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Brazil high court grants disputed land to indigenous peoples

[JURIST] The Brazilian Supreme Court [official website, in Portuguese] on Thursday confirmed the rights of indigenous peoples [press release, in Portuguese] to land on the Raposa Serra do Sol [Estadao backgrounder, in Portuguese] reservation and set out 19 rules to guide court in similar cases in the future. The 10 to 1 ruling [Estadao report, in Portuguese] will permit the expulsion of the 200 rice farmers currently living and working on the Raposa Serra do Sol reservation, created in 2005 [BBC report] by the Brazilian government. The rules set out by the court include prohibiting those outside the indigenous communities from hunting, fishing, gathering, or practicing agriculture on the land and granting exclusive use of natural resources to members of the tribal groups. The rules are expected to be binding [UPI report] on any future legal case involving the use of indigenous lands, which cover 12% of Brazil.

In December, the Supreme Court indicated that they would rule in favor of the indigenous peoples [JURIST report], but gave no official ruling. At the time, eight of the eleven judges voted in favor of indigenous peoples, but one requested more time to deliberate. Because of the high likelihood of victory, indigenous peoples began celebrating immediately.

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