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FEATURE-Indigenous group takes Brazil to court in landmark case

• http://news.trust.org, by Sam Cowie

An international human rights commission has accused Brazil of failing to obey its own constitution and ringfence ancient tribal territories in a landmark court case that pits the state against indigenous people.

Brazil could be forced to pay damages if it loses the trial in the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which is hearing evidence from both sides in Guatemala.

"This case could strengthen the fight of indigenous people, who continue to have their rights threatened in Brazil," said Raphaela Lopes, a lawyer at Global Justice, a non-governmental organisation that is supporting the case.

The case seeks to end a vicious dispute over land which the indigenous Xucuru people say has dragged on for 27 years, cost it lives and threatens to erode an ancient way of life.

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