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CESE reasserts commitment to resistance of indigenous peoples in Brazil

As an ecumenical organization, throughout its history, CESE has asserted its commitment to the struggles of indigenous peoples for their cultural and territorial rights.

From colonial Brazil to current times, original peoples have suffered violence, oppression and expulsion from their territories. As if the dismantling of rights, the invasion of their territories and attacks on demarcations were not enough, indigenous populations are now fighting the pandemic, flooding and fires. According to the Report on Violence against the Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (2019 data), published annually by the Indigenous Missionary Council (Conselho Indigenista Missionário: CIMI), this situation, “is evidence that the indigenous are facing one of the most challenging historical moments since the invasion of the colonizers.”
At this time of pandemic, the indigenous population is among the most vulnerable groups. COVID-19, heightened by the federal government’s death project, has devastated the territories. According to the monitoring platform of the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (Articulação dos Povos Indígenas do Brasil: APiB), by 1 April, 1,029 lives had been lost, with 163 peoples affected and 51,857 people infected. All of this added to the criminal fires in the Amazon, Cerrado and Pantanal, and the dismantling of inspection bodies and environmental controls.
Allied to the predatory development model – which violates rights and indiscriminately exploits natural resources to sustain capital, agri-business, mining and logging – is religious racism. The government’s fundamentalist project has penetrated the territories in an attempt to undermine their resistance to the imposition of religious conversion. This is a political and economic force, with colonial roots, which also relies on the sacred to annihilate indigenous peoples.
Despite these insecurities and constant violence, indigenous peoples continue to fight for Good Living, defending their bodies and territories to keep their history alive. For 520 years, they have resisted this entire process of oppression and domination.
As an ecumenical organization, throughout its history, CESE has asserted its commitment to the struggles of indigenous peoples for their cultural and territorial rights. In the ecumenical movement, a priority arena for action, it has worked to raise awareness with churches and organizations for solidarity and engagement in this cause, particularly in advocacy activities when concrete situations of violence occur.
Over its 48 years of existence, one of the greatest expressions of CESE’s commitment to indigenous peoples has been financial support to small projects that work in the struggle for resistance and the guarantee of cultural and territorial rights within this sector. In the last five years alone, 197 initiatives have been supported through its Small Projects Programme, with a total of BRL 1,800,079.00 in grants, benefiting approximately 22 thousand families. CESE has also provided political support through its public positioning, facilitating dialogue and networking, promoting training activities, experiences and exchanges, and has used its institutional communication channels to provide visibility for and disseminate information about the indigenous struggle.
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