Cartoon by Stephane Peray
Brazil's new president targets minorities
AAP: Newly installed President Jair Bolsonaro has issued executive orders targeting Brazil's indigenous groups, descendants of slaves and the LGBT community in the first hours of his administration.
This follows a campaign in which the far-right leader said he would radically overhaul many aspects of life in Latin America's largest nation.
One of the orders issued late on Tuesday, hours after his inauguration, likely will make it all but impossible for new lands to be identified and demarcated for indigenous communities. Areas set aside for "Quilombolas," as descendants of former slaves are known, are also affected by the decision.
Another order removed the concerns of the LGBT community from consideration by the new human rights ministry.
In a move favourable to his allies in agribusiness, which have criticised giving large swaths of lands to the indigenous, Bolsonaro transferred the responsibilities for delineating indigenous territories from the Justice Ministry to the Agriculture Ministry.
The new agriculture minister, Tereza Cristina, is part of the agribusiness caucus in Brazil's lower house and has opposed requests from native communities.
Bolsonaro, a former army captain and longtime congressman, said during his presidential campaign that he would stop making what he calls concessions to native Brazilians and Quilombolas.
"Less than one million people live in those places isolated from the real Brazil," Bolsonaro tweeted on Wednesday.
"They are explored and manipulated by nonprofits. Together we will integrate those citizens and give value to all Brazilians."
The Justice Ministry previously handled demarcation of indigenous lands through the FUNAI agency, which also oversees other initiatives for indigenous communities such as health care, housing and language preservation.
Bolsonaro's order is raising uncertainties about FUNAI by shifting it to a new ministry for family, women and human rights that is headed by an ultraconservative evangelical pastor.
Observatorio do Clima, a network of 45 Brazilian civil society groups, said in a statement to The Associated Press that the executive orders "are only the first step on meeting Bolsonaro's campaign promises of dismantling environmental governance, stripping indigenous peoples of their rights and opening up indigenous lands for business."