When full demarcation of indigenous land has taken place, there is often a failure to protect the territory in question, or its inhabitants. Indigenous leaders are also attacked and criminalised as a result of their activities. During the month of July 2005 in the Truká indigenous territory in Pernambuco state, the indigenous leader Adenilson dos Santos Truká and his son were shot and killed during a public celebration, reportedly by military police in plain clothes. His brother, Aurivan dos Santos Truká, cacique (chief) of the Truká, was arrested when he voluntarily presented himself to give information to the federal police about Adenilson’s murder, which he witnessed. He was arrested on the basis of charges dating back several years on the accusation of formação de quadrilha (forming a criminal gang) and robo de gado (theft of cattle). Both charges, believed to be used in order to harass and destabilize the Truká leadership, date back to the time, beginning in the mid nineteen-nineties, when the Truká peacefully reoccupied their land - subsequently demarcated in their favour.
There are consistent attempts to block the demarcation process in the courts. Even when the full consultation prior to final presidential ratification of a territory has taken place, occupants and invaders of indigenous land continue to oppose the will of the government. As a result, Brazil’s highest federal courts have made several rulings in favour of such occupants. These rulings block the demarcation process and unless overturned, leave the indigenous community in question at risk of eviction. This has occurred in 2005 in the context of territories claimed by the Guarani Kaiowá indigenous people in Mato Grosso do Sul state, who currently live crammed into some of the smallest, poorest and most densely populated indigenous areas in Brazil. For example, the Nhanderu Marangatu indigenous territory was ratified by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on 28 March 2005. This ratification was later suspended by a ruling of the Federal Supreme Court on 28 July 2005, and the future of the hundreds of Indians living on the territory is now uncertain, pending an appeal against this decision. If evicted they will face almost certain poverty and destitution. Such evictions often lead to violence, such as that which occurred on the Takuara territory on 12 January 2003, during which internationally renowned Guarani-Kaiowá leader Marcos Verón was beaten to death.
There is also currently particular concern for the safety and survival of “isolated” Indians living in the states of Mato Grosso and Rondônia, who are facing invasion of, and expulsion from, their land by individuals involved in extractive industries.
Article 6 – Right to Life (Paragraphs 57 – 133 of the State report)
Police Killings (Paragraphs 74 -77)
In the context of extreme levels of criminal and especially armed violence, every year hundreds if not thousands of civilians continue to die at the hands of Brazil’s public security forces according to figures published by state secretariats for public security. Extra-judicial executions, unlawful killings and excessive use of force by police officers are rife. Young poor Afro-Brazilian males are the predominant targets for such killings, which occur in the context of high rates of armed criminal violence which pervade Brazil. These killings are often committed by police officers involved in corrupt and criminal activities such as involvement with “death squads”, reportedly responsible for acts of social cleansing and organised crime.
Certain state governments have defended the use of strong or even repressive policing as a means of combating high levels of crime. The use of this discourse has consistently been matched by a rise in the number of killings by police and reflects the clear lack of political will to address issues of public security reform and lethality by the police within the framework of international human rights standards.
Official figures quoted in the states of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the only states to regularly publish such figures, show a dramatic rise in killings by police officers up to 2003, with São Paulo registering 915 killings and Rio de Janeiro 1,195 in 2003. According to information received by Amnesty International, these figures are automatically registered as “resistance followed by death” [resistência seguida de morte] or “records of resistance” [autos de resistência], thus appearing to transform the victim into an aggressor prior to any investigation of the circumstances surrounding the killing. In 2004, São Paulo registered a decline in the official numbers of “resistance followed by death” to 663, while in Rio de Janeiro the decline was more negligible to 983.
Separate studies by São Paulo’s police ombudsman’s office and the Instituto de Estudos da Religião (ISER), Institute of Studies of Religion, a research centre in Rio de Janeiro have found that the majority of victims in cases of “resistance followed by death” were unarmed, shot several times predominantly from behind, and many had no previous criminal record. Investigations of such incidents, when they occur, are invariably flawed. Often relatives of victims do not report such incidents, either out of fear, lack of knowledge about how and where to report cases, or from a lack of faith in the justice system. Amnesty International has spoken to families who only reported killings several weeks or months afterwards, believing they had to gather evidence themselves to prove that the victim was not a “criminal” and thus unjustly killed.