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13 Oct 2021

Comité de Derechos Humanos ONU

Paraguay: UN Human Rights Committee rules state failure to prevent toxic agribusiness pollution violates Indigenous rights


“Paraguay: Failing to prevent contamination violates indigenous people’s right to traditional lands - UN Human Rights Committee” – 13 October 2021

This is the Committee’s first decision to affirm that, in the case of indigenous people, the notion of “home” should be understood within the context of the special relationship between them and their territories including their livestock, crops and their way of life such as hunting, foraging and fishing…“For indigenous peoples, their lands represent their home, culture and community. Serious environmental damages have se impacts on indigenous people’s family life, tradition, identity and even lead to the disappearance of their community. It dramatically harms the existence of the culture of the group as a whole,” said Committee member Hélène Tigroudja…The Committee’s decision follows a complaint filed by the elected community leader and a teacher at the community school, on behalf of all the 201 Ava Guarani people of the Campo Agua’e indigenous community in the country’s eastern district of Curuguaty.

The Campo Agua’e indigenous community lives in an area closely surrounded by large commercial farms that use fumigation, a process that utilizes chemical smoke to kill pests, to produce genetically modified soybeans. The fumigation, including the use of banned agrochemicals continuously for more than ten years in the area, had killed indigenous community’ chickens and ducks, affected subsistence crops and fruit trees, impacted hunting, fishing and foraging resources, contaminated the waterways and harmed people’s health.