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April 21, 2017

Brazil’s Xucuru accuses government of rights violations

The Brazilian government has been taken to court. The indigenous Xucuru people say they’ve been waiting 27 years for Brazil to demarcate their territory – that is, to set aside land to protect their culture and “enshrine legal rights over ancient turf”. Not only has that process stalled, but members of the Xucuru tribe have faced ongoing violence from non-indigenous settlers and even death.

The Xucuru regards Brazil’s delay in demarcating their ancestral lands, and in protecting them from violence, as indigenous rights violations. Their case against Brazil has now been taken up by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Sierra Leone harnesses solar energy for health centers

Sierra Leone is going green. Local engineers and businesspeople are working to install solar equipment at 50 health centers in rural communities across the country, with support from the government and the UN. Over the next four years, half a million Sierra Leoneans are expected have around-the-clock access to solar power.

Australia tightens requirements for naturalization and foreign work visas

It’s happening down under, too. This week Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced major changes to the country’s citizenship process. Besides having to live as a permanent resident for at least four years (up from the current one-year requirement), applicants will now have to answer new questions testing their commitment to “Australian values”.

Earlier this week Mr. Turnbull also introduced more stringent rules for foreign work visas, saying it would help the hiring of Australian citizens.