Brazil Lower House Passes Bolsonaro's Controversial Bill On Appropriation Of Amazon Lands

MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 04th August, 2021) The Chamber of Deputies, Brazil's lower house of parliament, has passed a bill that will facilitate the legalization of occupied land by businesses, including Amazonia territories, despite caustic criticism by green and human rights activists.

"The Chamber of Deputies approved the basic text of the bill that increases the area of territories that can be regulated... based on documents check and occupants' declaration of compliance with environmental legislation, with 296 votes in favor and 136 against," the legislative body said on Tuesday.

The bill, proposed by Brazilian far-right President Jair Bolsonaro in a move to please the agrobusiness lobby, allows businesses that occupied public lands, mostly in Amazonia, to more easily receive deeds to the land and opens it for industrial agriculture, mining, and other extractive activities.

Greenpeace Brazil dubbed the bill as "land-grabbing", "criminal and devastating for the environment" and slammed the lack of debates and procedural transparency, since it was approved using a simplified procedure.

The lands in question are mostly inhabited by indigenous people, who will have to prove that they occupied the territory before 1988 Constitution entered in force. Otherwise a loophole in Brazilian legislation, called Marco Temporal ("Time frame"), allows legalization of squatters' occupation of lands.

Indigenous rights groups like The Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) have been constantly calling on the Brazilian Supreme Court to outlaw Marco Temporal clause.

Indigenous people, making up some 0.5% of Brazil's population, hold 13% of its land, mostly in the Amazon region. Indigenous tribes are regarded as the guardians of Brazil's diverse culture and forests.

In the first two years of Bolsonaro's government, deforestation rose 48%, hitting record rate since since 2008, with over 1 million hectares disappearing.