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Venezuela: Indigenous Peoples speak out against yet more obstacles to the recognition of their land rights

A new Presidential decree, which reduces indigenous participation in the process meant to recognise their rights to their lands and territories has been denounced by the indigenous peoples of the Venezuelan Amazon. The Constitution and laws of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela offer strong protections of indigenous peoples’ rights to own and control their lands and territories (referred to as ‘habitats’ in Venezuelan law). However, even though indigenous peoples have filed numerous well-documented land claims substantiated with detailed land use maps, actual recognition of these areas has been blocked by the President’s Office. The new Decree, it is feared, will make such recognition even more difficult.