An organization linked to the Catholic Church on Thursday said that 60 Indians were murdered in Brazil in 2012, most of them in land disputes.

"Last year the different forms of violence against the indigenous peoples increased, (including) murders, death threats, delays in the regularization of their lands, state omissions and lack of assistance in health care and education," the Indigenist Missionary Council, or CIMI, said in a report.

CIMI said that the number of Indians murdered increased from 51 in 2011 to 60 in 2012, adding that the latest figure raises to 563 the number of violent deaths among indigenous people in Brazil over the past 10 years.

It also said that 43 of the 60 killings tabulated last year were in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, which is the location of one of the most serious land disputes between indigenous peoples and powerful landowners.

As an example of government "omission," CIMI said that 44 new indigenous areas have already been designated and their definitive establishment is merely awaiting approval by President Dilma Rousseff.

CIMI executive secretary Cleber Buzatto said upon presenting the report that "the life of the indigenous peoples is linked to the land" and for that reason "the government urgently has to settle the historic debt it has with the Indians."

"That will be the only way to create the basic conditions for the physical and cultural survival of the indigenous peoples," Buzatto said. EFE