‘State of emergency’ for Paraguay’s tribal peoples, says UN

By agency reporter
October 15, 2015

Indigenous peoples in Paraguay are in a state of emergency according to the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur for indigenous peoples.

A new UN report found “persistent racism”, “discrimination” and a total failure by the Paraguayan state to uphold indigenous peoples’ land rights.

The report highlights “massive deforestation” of land belonging to uncontacted Ayoreo Indians and warns that the government’s failure to return the land to its rightful owners places the Ayoreo’s lives in great danger.

Rampant destruction by cattle firms Yaguareté Porã SA and Spanish-owned Carlos Casado SA has already destroyed much of the Ayoreo’s forest, which has the highest deforestation rate in the world.

Uncontacted tribes are the most vulnerable peoples on the planet. For the last remaining uncontacted Ayoreo, the forest is their only hope for survival.

The UN has called on the companies to halt all work on the Ayoreo’s land until the tribe’s 20-year land claim has been resolved.

The Paraguayan State has expressed its “firm duty to find a quick and sustainable solution” to the indigenous land crisis. However, a preliminary forecast for Paraguay’s Indian Affairs Department shows massive cuts of up to 40 per cent.

Survival International, the global movement for tribal peoples’ rights, said, “The uncontacted Ayoreo are staring extinction in the face. This won’t change until Paraguay upholds its own laws and returns the land to its rightful indigenous owners. Of course, it’s not just the Ayoreo’s survival at stake – destroying the Chaco forest affects the whole of humanity. With human diversity comes biological diversity, and Paraguay is annihilating both."

* Reprieve http://www.survivalinternational.org/

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