Environmental activists have warned that a vast Amazon reserve is still under threat despite the suspension of a government decree that would open it up to commercial mining.
The federal court in the capital, Brasilia, said on Wednesday that it had “partially granted an injunction to immediately suspend any administrative act” aimed at annulling the Renca reserve, which is nearly the size of Denmark.
Judge Rolando Valcir Spanholo also said such as decision could not be made by decree and Brazil’s Congress would have to be consulted.
Yet, activists say Brazil’s Congress is dominated by ranching and mining interests.
Amid reports that the government is planning to appeal the verdict, many fear that the suspension could be a temporary block.
Brazil’s President Michel Temer signed the controversial decree made public last week to annul the Renca reserve which covers four million hectares across the Amazon states of Amapa and Para.
The area is thought to have vast quantities of gold, iron and other minerals.
In a statement by the, Brazil’s Ministry of Mines and Energy said “the objective of the measure is to attract new investments, with the generation of wealth for the country and employment and income for society, in addition to expanding the supply of mineral goods, always based on the precepts of sustainability”.
Environmental groups immediately blasted the decree as catastrophic, prompting Temer to issue an updated version on Tuesday which further detailed protection measures to forest conservation units and indigenous territories inside the reserve.
The Wajapi’s traditional lifestyle involves hunting deer and other forest animals, fishing, growing manioc, bananas and other crops, as well as gathering water and bathing in the rivers.
The Wajapi territory was officially demarcated in 1996, in a process that enables indigenous people to receive legal protections to their land.