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Cablegate: Sao Paulo of Human Rights and Labor Sweep-January 2010

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DE RUEHSO #0052/01 0261806
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 261804Z JAN 10
FM AMCONSUL SAO PAULO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0316
INFO RUEHAC/AMEMBASSY ASUNCION
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
RUEHBR/AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
RUEHMN/AMEMBASSY MONTEVIDEO
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO
RUEHSG/AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO

UNCLAS SAO PAULO 000052

SIPDIS
STATE FOR DRL AND WHA/BSC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM ELAB PGOV SOCI EAID KPAO KCRM
SUBJECT: SAO PAULO OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND LABOR SWEEP-JANUARY 2010

1. (U) Summary: The following is the January edition of a monthly
series summarizing human rights and labor developments in the Sao
Paulo Consular District (i.e. the states of Sao Paulo, Parana,
Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul and Mato Grosso do Sul) not
covered in broader reporting.

LANDOWNERS WIN INJUNCTION ON DEMARCATION OF INDIGENOUS LANDS

2. (U) Between December 22 and January 21, President of the Supreme
Court Gilmar Mendes temporarily suspended the implementation of a
December 2009 presidential decree to create nine indigenous
reserves covering five million hectares of land in Amazonas, Para,
Parana, Roraima and Mato Grosso do Sul. The decision is based on a
case involving five ranches in the municipality of Paranhos, Mato
Grosso do Sul(MS) State. The ranches are located on land
traditionally belonging to the Arroio-Kor???? indigenous community
and
together they account for 94 percent of the approximately 7,100
hectares of traditional Arroio-Kor???? land in MS. In his decision,
Mendes stated that the ranchers' arguments -- that their right to
due process had been violated and that the titles for the ranches,
which date from the 1920s, showed legal ownership of the land --
met the burden of proof to issue a temporary injunction. The
ranchers claim that President Lula ignored the existence of
judicial actions already underway when he issued the 2009 decree.
In reality, they argue, demarcation is the responsibility of the
Congress. Indigenous representatives say they will appeal the
injunction as they consider the ranches part of their ancestral
lands. It is unknown when a final decision on the case can be
expected.

GOB AMNESTY LEGALIZES THOUSANDS OF BOLIVIANS IN SAO PAULO

3. (U) According to Brazil's latest amnesty law (June 2009),
illegal immigrants who entered Brazil before February 1, 2009 had
until December 30, 2009 to regularize their status by registering
with the Federal Police. According to the GOB, a total of 41,816
people received amnesty under the new law. This was the third
amnesty for illegal immigrants granted by the Brazilian government.
The others took place in 1988 and 1998. The latest amnesty
affected various immigrant groups. The largest group of
beneficiaries came from Bolivia, 17,000 legalized (16,300 of them
coming from Sao Paulo state). They were followed by Chinese
(5,500), Peruvians (4,600), Paraguayans (4,100)and Koreans (1,100).
In addition, approximately 2,400 Europeans legalized their status.
There were no reports of U.S. citizens requesting amnesty. Interim
Minister of Justice Luis Paulo Barreto publicly presented the
legalization as a human rights issue to rescue illegal immigrants
from "a clandestine environment where they are susceptible to labor
and sexual exploitation." The Brazilian Congress is now
considering a new law concerning foreigners that would remove the
need for periodic immigration amnesties.

FIRST AFRO-BRAZILIAN RELIGION MEETING IN RIO GRANDE DO SUL

4. (U) On January 26-29, Rio Grande do Sul State (RS) will host a
conference entitled "The First National Meeting of
African-Descended Traditions and Health." This will gather
prominent Afro-Brazilian religious leaders who will discuss
traditional medicine and discrimination-related issues. The event
is sponsored by National Network of Afro-Religions and Health, the
religious community Ile Ax???? Iyemoja Omi Olodo, the Congregation in
the Defense of Afro-Brazilian Religions of RS, and the Catholic
University of RS with the support of the Ministry of Health.

WATER PROJECT IN QUILOMBO COMMUNITIES

5. (U) The Sao Paulo State Land Institute Foundation (ITESP)
recently began a project to improve access to water for four
quilombo communities in the Valle do Ribeira region of the state:
Andr???? Lopes (Eldorado), Nhunguara (Iporanga), Mandira
(Canan????ia)
and Morro Seco (Iguape). Valle do Ribeira has many formally
recognized quilombo communities. The project costs approximately
USD 108 million and the installation of seven water pumps will be
finished in about two months benefitting 203 families. In total,
Sao Paulo State formally recognizes 26 quilombo communities. ITESP
provides each community with a state consultant, who offers
training courses, manages infrastructure projects and serves as
liaison between the communities and other state agencies to ensure
and protect community rights.

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