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Lewandowski participates in Chile to the Conference on constitutional protection to minorities and indigenous people

Friday, December, 4th, 2015

"The gradual extinction of cultural diversity and the accelerated homogenization of ways of being and thinking that occur in the current world lead to an impoverishment of humanity as a whole, by the annihilation of the possibilities of innovation that provide the differences among people". The statement was made by the Chief Justice of the Brazilian Federal Supreme Court (STF), Ricardo Lewandowski, in a conference given on Friday (4) at the International Conference on "Constitutional Protection of Vulnerable Groups: A Judicial Dialogue", organized by Chile's Constitutional Court and the Venice Commission, in Santiago.

The Justice spoke about the case law of the Supreme Court in protection of the minorities especially of indigenous people. He stressed that Brazil is a multi-ethnic and multicultural country, with about 220 of indigenous people, who speak 180 languages. He also highlighted that their traditions and knowledge can be seen in the food, language, music, religion and the Brazilian's behavior. He noted that the Constitution of 1988 is one of the most advanced in the world in relation to the protection of the natives, having inspired the constitutions of Paraguay and Colombia on that specific question

"With regard specifically to the indigenous peoples, the Constitution not only assured them the use of their native language and their own learning processes in elementary school, but also booked them a whole chapter recognizing their social organization, customs, languages, beliefs and traditions, and the rights originating on the lands traditionally occupied, with the Union having the responsibility to delimit them to protect and ensure respect for their goods", said the Justice.

The Justice stressed that, in jurisprudence of the Supreme Court, there is a number of important decisions related to the protection of indigenous people, but the one that caused more impact in recent years is the one that secured the delimitation of the Raposa Serra do Sol indigenous land (RR). He noted that the case has aroused great interest, because there were a number of arguments against the delimitation, in reason of the economic impact caused to the State by the withdrawal of the rice producers and by the extension of the land.The Justice pointed out that, when he judged the validity of the presidential decree that determined the delimitation, the Plenary established policies to regularize the situation of indigenous people and ensure the sovereignty of the federal Government and the National Congress for authorization of exploitation of natural resources and energy potential. According to him, although the Justices have understood as atypical conditions, without them it would have been impossible to stop the conflict.

"So, we can say that the Supreme Court decision gave indigenous land delimitation in a peaceful and orderly manner, without compromising the ability of State action and development in the region," concluded the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

Watch the meeting's videos (redirects to the Chilean's Constitucional Court website)

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