Acauã Quilombo Residents Association – AMQA (Rio Grande do Norte)
Rights in the Quilombo of Zé Cunhã
Rio Grande do Norte
Objectives and target population:
The Association will undertake a legal campaign in defense of the rights of quilombo residents in Acauã, Rio Grande do Norte. The focus will be on land titles and full access to healthcare. Regarding title registration, there is a case underway in the Brazilian Agrarian Reform Institute (Incra in Portuguese) since 2004 and a lawsuit from a farmer aiming to annul it. In relation to healthcare, the demand is for the construction of a facility within the territory.
There are currently 224 people living in the community of Acauã, distributed among 56 family units.
– Support the law studies of Maria Lidiane Apolinário da Silva, the quilombo region’s first ever college student. She will accompany legal proceedings as an intern with Falcão Popular Advocacy, which offers the Quilombo of Acauã free legal advice on their territorial lawsuit;
– Periodic meetings with the community should guarantee that the work heeds local demands.
Previously supported project:
The AMQA had a related project “The Cunhã Tradition: Reclaiming Quilombo Territory,” supported by the Fund in 2010.
In 1959 construction began on the Engenheiro José Batista do Rego Pereira Dam, also known as the Poço Branco Reservoir, which coincided with the political emancipation of the municipality of Poço Branco. With the dam, river levels rose significantly, resulting in the relocation of populations along the banks of Ceará Mirim River, especially in the area bisecting the municipality of Poço Branco. That is what happened with villages such as Contador and the old community of Acauã. In talks with the mayor and the directors of the dam project at the time, the families of Acauã negotiated the settlement of the lands they still live in today, on approximately four hectares. However with the inauguration of the dam, the families were forced to leave the lands they cultivated and inhabited.
Acauã has been fighting for the recuperation of its territory since 2004, when it established an administrative proceeding in Incra-RN, with the objective of granting title on quilombo territories in the name of the Association. In July 2008, the owner of Maringá Farm, Elias Azevedo de Oliveira, sued to annul the proceeding in Incra-RN, but his claims were dismissed in a ruling delivered in January 2012. The suit continues in superior courts today.
Up until now, to receive healthcare, residents of the Acauã quilombo have needed to travel to nearby Contador, 4km away. Service is available twice a week, or whenever there are doctors and the necessary equipment is available. In 2011 the municipality of Poço Branco was found liable and required to pay indemnities due to lack of available healthcare services for Dona Zuleide, an Acauã leader.
About the Association:
The AMQA is looking to restore and promote human dignity among the inhabitants of the Acauã Quilombo through the definitive recuperation of their ethnic territory and the promotion of local development, generating wealth and quality of life for its population.
Aside from the partnership with Falção Popular Advocacy, the Association is a part of the Mutirão (Collective Effort) Organization, which seeks the materialization of human rights in quilombos; as well as state and national coordinated networks of quilombo communities.
Annual Call for Proposals
Rights of Maroon and Traditional Populations