Association of Indigenous Peoples (APIB), an organisation representing 300 indigenous tribes from Brazil will reportedly sue the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro for racism after he said that indigenous people are 'evolving' and becoming more like humans. The announcement by the APIB came on Friday, just a day before Bolsonaro's official visit to India. According to the international press, APIB lawyer Eloy Terena said that the organisation was preparing to make its case before the Supreme Court of the country, the only court which can listen to a case against the President.
The controversial comments by Jair Bolsonaro reportedly came on Thursday, when a video posted on social media showed the Brazilian President saying, "The Indian has changed, he is evolving and becoming more and more, a human being like us,” Bolsonaro said. “What we want is to integrate him into society so he can own his land." However, this is not the first time when the former Army captain has come under the scanner for his comment. Earlier, he had said that the indigenous reserves are too large and his government wants to allow commercial mining of the area.
The President, who is known for his controversial stand on climate-related issues, reportedly wants the highly protected Amazon forest lands to be given to commercial companies for mining and extraction of other resources in the area. According to media reports, Brazil has some 8,50,000 indigenous people, most of whom live in the 12% of the protected lands in the Amazon rainforest. If media reports are to be believed, Bolsonaro had suggested that some of the larger reservations could have their boundaries reviewed.
Environmentalists and conservationists are concerned across the globe over the latest developments in Brazil. They think that these moves could further assimilate the indigenous people and could speed up the deforestation of Amazon rainforest, where reservations act as protective boundaries. Sonia Guajajara, leader of the Association of Indigenous Peoples (APIB) took to Twitter to confirm that they are going to the court against Jair Bolsonaro for the crime of racism. Meanwhile, Bolsonaro is currently in India as a chief guest for the Republic Day programme on January 26.