Rural workers and family farmers in Maranhão mobilize against a law facilitating land grabs

The Federation of Rural Workers and Family Farmers of the State of Maranhão (FETAEMA) has taken a clear stance against Maranhão State Law No. 12,169 of December 19, 2023, which deals with land grabs. The Federation, as well as its affiliated unions and civil society organizations, underline the harmfulness of the law, which promotes and rewards land grabbing practices, particularly through the use of violence. It also prohibits quilombolas, coconut breakers and other traditional communities from accessing public land in Maranhao. The waterfalls, lakes, fields and mines of Baixada Maranhense are also privatized. In general, the law facilitates real estate speculation to the detriment of public assets, increasing land concentration. Poverty and inequality, as well as agrarian and environmental conflicts, are set to grow as a result.

A note from the Department of Agrarian Conflict Mediation and Conciliation, published by the Ministry of Agrarian Development and Family Farming, acknowledges the law's flaws and its dangerousness: "The aforementioned law does not establish any conditions regarding land obtained through documentary fraud, which also encourages and rewards land-grabbing practices. The ambiguous wording of Article 18, by establishing that territories traditionally occupied by traditional peoples and communities will not be subject to regularization, does not fully and unquestionably guarantee the rights of these peoples over their territories. The law establishes no guidelines for the subsequent sale of public lands obtained through regularization, favoring real estate speculation to the detriment of public property and land deconcentration."

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