Road construction through TI Waimiri Atroari, Amazonas - Roraima, Brazil

The construction of the BR-174 road by the Brazilian military in the 1970s has caused violent conflict with the Waimiri Atroari group. A historical legal process could lead to an official recognition of the state’s atrocities against indigenous peoples.


Description

The BR-174 highway was controversially constructed between 1967 and 1977 in order to connect Boa Vista, capital of Brazil’s northernmost state Roraima, with the city of Manaus in Amazonas. It thereby cut through densely forested indigenous land, causing violent conflict and the almost-extinction of the Waimiri Atroari indigenous group (self-denomination: Kinja).

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Basic Data
NameRoad construction through TI Waimiri Atroari, Amazonas - Roraima, Brazil
CountryBrazil
ProvinceAmazonas - Roraima
SiteWaimiri Atroari Indigenous Territory; Rorainópolis & Presidente Figueredo
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Infrastructure and Built Environment
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Deforestation
Land acquisition conflicts
Transport infrastructure networks (roads, railways, hydroways, canals and pipelines)
Logging and non timber extraction
Specific CommoditiesLand
Live Animals
Timber
Project Details and Actors
Project DetailsThe construction of BR-174 between Manaus, Amazonas, and Boa Vista, Roraima, was carried out between 1967 and 1977 and was part of the military government’s National Integration Plan (Plano Nacional de Integração; PNI). [7]

Today, the BR-174 extends over 3,321 km and leads from Cáceres in Mato Grosso to Pacaraima on the Venezuelan border in Roraima, but parts of it are not yet paved. The section traversing the Waimiri Atroari Indigenous Territory is closed every day between 18.30 and 06.00.
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population~ 2,000 people in Waimiri Atroari reserve (more in general)
Start Date1967
Relevant government actorsFUNAI & Coordenação-Geral de Índios Isolados e Recém Contatados – CGIIRC/Funai

Comissão Nacional da Verdade (National Truth Commission; http://cnv.memoriasreveladas.gov.br)

Working Group: GT Violação dos Direitos dos Povos Indígenas e Regime Militar

(http://www.mpf.mp.br/atuacao-tematica/ccr6/dados-da-atuacao/grupos-de-trabalho/violacao-dos-direitos-dos-povos-indigenas-e-registro-militar/docs-1/docs_relatorios_atividades/gt-povos-indigenas-e-regime-militar-plano-de-acao-2014)

MPF

Brazilian government (historically the military government)
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersAssociação Waimiri-Atroari https://www.waimiriatroari.org.br/

Movimento de Apoio a Resistência Waimiri Atroari; MAREWA

Comitê da Verdade, Memória e Justiça do Amazonas comitedaverdade.blogspot.com

CIMI (Indigenist Missionary Council) https://cimi.org.br/tag/cimi-brasil/
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingIndigenous groups or traditional communities
Local ejos
Ethnically/racially discriminated groups
Local scientists/professionals
Religious groups
Forms of MobilizationBlockades
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Street protest/marches
Threats to use arms
Impacts
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Soil contamination, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Potential: Fires, Noise pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage)
OtherPoisoning
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..) , Infectious diseases, Deaths, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Malnutrition
Potential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Militarization and increased police presence, Violations of human rights, Land dispossession, Displacement
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Increase in violence and crime, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Loss of landscape/sense of place
Outcome
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseDeaths
Institutional changes
Land demarcation
Court decision (undecided)
Migration/displacement
Repression
Violent targeting of activists
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.This is clearly a case of socio-environmental crime, which after more than five decades has no one held accountable. However, investigations are ongoing.
Sources and Materials
Legislations

Civic Public Action No. 1001605-06-2017.4.01.3200 (ação civil pública; law suit about the massacre in the 1970s)

ILO Convention 169 on the rights of tribal people
[click to view]

References

2. Baines, S. (2008): The Reconstruction of Waimiri-Atroari Territory. In: Oliveira, A. (ed.): Decolonising Indigenous Rights, pp. 45–64. New York: Routledge.

A HISTÓRIA DA RODOVIA BR 174 E OS CONTATOS COM A ETNIA WAIMIRI –ATROARI NOS ANOS 70: DOENÇAS E DESENVOLVIMENTISMO NA AMAZÔNIA
[click to view]

12. Barni, P.; Silva, E. (2016): Extração seletiva de madeira em Rorainópolis: a floresta em perigo. XI Semana Nacional de Ciência e Tecnologia no Estado de Roraima - Conference Paper, October 2016.
[click to view]

13. Comitê da Verdade, Memória e Justiça do Amazonas (2012): 1º Relatório do Comitê Estadual da Verdade: O Genocídio do Povo Waimiri-Atroari. Comitê da Verdade, Memória e Justiça do Amazonas, Manaus, Amazonas.
[click to view]

Links

4. Llorente, E. (2019): Amazon tribe testifies Brazilian military slaughtered hundreds to make room for highway. FoxNews, 08.03.2019. Online, last access: 18.04.2019.
[click to view]

10. Branford, S. (2017): A stubborn dreamer who fought to save Amazon’s Waimiri-Atroari passes. Mongabay, 18.05.2017. Online, last access: 18.04.2019.
[click to view]

1. Waimiri Atroari – Indigenous Peoples in Brazil. Portal PIB Socioambiental. Online, last access: 18.04.2019.
[click to view]

3. Rocha, J. (2019): Brazil to build long-resisted Amazon transmission line on indigenous land. Mongabay, 13.03.2019. Online, last access: 18.04.2019.
[click to view]

5. Branford, S. (2013): Brazil — Waimiri-Atroari indigenous massacre. LAB Online, 11.06.2013. Online, last access: 18.04.2019.
[click to view]

6. Fearnside, P. (2018): O Genocídio dos Waimiri-Atroari: um possível reconhecimento histórico. Portal Amazônia Real, 12.03.2018. Online, last access: 18.04.2019.
[click to view]

9. Lima, V. (2013): Em protesto, produtures colocam corrente no Centro de Boa Vista. G1 Globo, 06.09.2013. Online, last access: 18.04.2019.
[click to view]

8. FUNAI (2012): Funai restringe ingresso em nova área de índios isolados em Roraima. 27.12.2012. Online, last access: 18.04.2019.
[click to view]

7. BNC Amazonas (2019): Índios narram a Guernica Amazônica na construção da BR-174. 01.03.2019. Online, last access: 18.04.2019.
[click to view]

11. Brandão, I. (2015): Índios bloqueiam dois trechos da BR-174 em Roraima e quebram asfalto. G1 Globo, 25.04.2015. Online, last access: 18.04.2019.
[click to view]

Media Links

Foto ilustríssima - Terra indígena Uaimiri-Atroari
[click to view]

Other Documents

A hearing of the truth commission in a Kinja village, February 2019 Source: Foxnews (© Victor Caivano)
[click to view]

The regional indigenous movement blocking the BR-174 in Roraima, April 2019 Source: Folha de Boa Vista
[click to view]

The Br-174 highway crosses 125 kilometers of indigenous territory Source: Associated Press (©Victor R. Caivano)
[click to view]

Street protest in São Marcos reserve after a deadly accident - the BR-174 also affects other indigenous communities in Roraima (Source: G1 Globo)
[click to view]

The Waimiri Atroari population dropped from 3000 before the construction of the BR-174 to 332 people after the opening. (Source: comitedaverdade.blogspot.com)
[click to view]

A drawing by a kinja reveals the dark history of the 1970s (Source: comitedaverdade.blogspot.com; note: supporters collected such testimonies in the community around 1985)
[click to view]

Road constructions in the 1970s (Source: Roraima de Fato Online)
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorENVJustice Project (MS)
Last update13/05/2019
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