Brasil: Inter-American Commission of Human Rights grants precautionary measures in favour of the Indigenous Guapoy’s community of the Guaraní Kaiowá people.
Patricio Trincado Vera
International Justice and Human Rights Researcher
Global Human Rights Defence
In its resolution 50/2022, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights requested the state of Brasil to adopt the necessary precautionary measures to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of the members of the Guapoy’s community.
Guapoy’s is an indigenous community of the Guarani Kaiowá people, composed of nearly 300 members. They live in the Indigenous Reservation of Amambai, in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul in Brasil. For decades, the indigenous people of this region have been trying to recover their ancestral territories that are currently the property of non-indigenous landowners. Within this context, the Guarani Kaiowá has been a victim of systemic violence and non-legal police procedures.
In May 2022, members of the Guapoy’s community began a “retake movement” of the adjacent property to the Amambai Reservation, the “Hacienda Borda da Mata”. Through the use of force, drones, and tear gas, the police managed to expel the protesters from the property. After that, the Guapoy’s community submitted its demands to the authorities, but after 30 days without any improvements, they attempted a second retake of Borda da Mata. The police reacted with an operative of 100 armed policemen, tear gas, drones and a helicopter, without a judicial order. As a result 4 children, an elderly woman, and two men were harmed. In the following months, two leaders of the Guapoy’s community were killed.
The first one, Marcio Moreira, who was part of the retake movement, was ambushed and shot on the 14th of July 2022. The second, Vitorino Sanches, suffered an attack on the 1st of August 2022, when entering the community with donations. He received 10 shots, 3 of them hit his body, but he survived. However, on the 13th of september Sanches suffered a second attack, 35 shots, which finally ended his life.
When analysing the case, the Commission reminded that the lack of access to their ancestral land and natural resources can produce misery in the affected indigenous communities, since it prevents them from using and enjoying the necessary goods for their subsistence. In that sense, these situations can affect the right to a dignified life (“vida digna”). The Commission also expressed its concerns for the use of police force against indigenous peoples in Brasil, as well as for the serious humanitarian situation of the Guaraní Kaiowá people.
Consequently, and considering the information provided by the applicants and the State, the Commission granted precautionary measures. Article 25 of the Commissions’ Rules of Procedure states that the Commission can request precautionary measures that concern serious and urgent situations that present a risk of irreparable harm. Specifically, the Commission requested Brasil to adopt the necessary and culturally adequate measures to protect the rights to life and personal integrity of the members of the Guapoy’s community. The State must also ensure the respect of the rights of the beneficiaries according to international human rights standards.
Sources and Further Reading:
Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (2022, October 12). CIDH otorga medidas cautelares a miembros de la comunidad Guapoy´s del Pueblo Indígena Guarani Kaiowá en Brasil. Inter-American Commission of Human Rights Press releases. Retrieved October 17, 2022, from http://www.oas.org/es/CIDH/jsForm/?File=/es/cidh/prensa/comunicados/2022/227.asp
Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (2022, Ocotber 2). Resolución 50/22. Retrieved October 17, 2022, from http://www.oas.org/es/cidh/decisiones/mc/2022/res_50-22_mc_517-22_br_es.pdf
Reglamento Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos. Retrieved October 17, 2022, from https://www.oas.org/36ag/espanol/doc_referencia/Reglamento_CIDH.pdf