Paraguay: Xakmok Kásek Community recovers the 70% of reclaimed territories

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Photo credit: Pojoaju
Photo credit: Pojoaju

By: Codehupy / Source: biodiversidadla.org / The Dawn News / February 8, 2017

The State just made the last payment for 7,701 hectares of the 10,700 that it was forced to return by a sentence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.

Past January 13, the Paraguayan Institute of the Indigenous (Indi) carried out the third and last payment for the 7.701 hectares that are part of the territory claimed by the Xákmok Kásek community, located in the Puerto Pinasco district, President Hayes department, around the kilometer 340 of the Transchaco road. Altogether, the sum of 27.000 guaraníes was paid.

The 2010 territorial restitution sentence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, forced the Paraguayan State the return of 10.700 hectares, formerly part of their ancestral territory, to the Sanapanean people, and the habilitation of a funding to rebuild roads, schools and health centers as indemnification for the damages caused.

The Court considered that the eviction did not just violated their territorial rights but found the State as direct responsable from at least 13 deaths, in which we can find 11 children, that occurred when the community was installed by the side of the road. The indigenous community sustains that in this time 30 people passed away for the precarious conditions in which they lived.

During the trial, the judicial team of Tierraviva, organization member of the Human Rights Coordinator of Paraguay (Codehupy), was in charge of the legal representation of the community, throughout the lawyers Oscar Ayala Amarilla and Julia Cabello.

However, before the dilation of the sentence compliance, at the beginning of 2015 the community decided to occupy the territories. The term to comply given by the regional court ended on 2013, and besides the prorogue of a year given by the justice, until this days the sentence has only been respected in a part. The non-compliance of the State must be redeemed with a mensual fine of 10.000 dollars, but, there is no way to execute the penalty.

In the memory of those who departed:

Past weekend, we held a dialogue with three leaders of the community, who were at Asunción in order to accelerate the territory title, Serafín López, although highlighted the payment of the last fee, emphasized that the sentence was not fully accomplished yet, since this beholds the construction of households, schools and health centers.

He also underlined that this is not product of the government’s will or generosity, but of a struggle from over 20 years in order to recover at least a part of their territory. he also concluded that this would not have been possible if they had not made the decision of occupying the territory to demand the compliance of the sentence. In the same way Amancio Ruiz insisted that only throughout occupation the government was compelled into freeing the fundings for the land acquisition.

Meanwhile, Clemente Dermott thanked all of their people for being active and remembered the human beings that gave their lives in the struggle to regain their territory. “Heta oî ohóma apyre’ÿme he’i vaekue ‘pépe che aha vaerã, pea la che róga, ha ndaikatúi. Rovy’a por una parte ha oremandu’a jave hesekuéra rombyasy avei” (“there are many people who already have gone beyond that said “I have to go there, that is my homeland” but they could not. We are happy, but also sorrow when we remember all of them”) he said. Actually in the settlement live a little more than 60 families, that sum up to 250 individuals.

He’ê Lagoon:

The remaining 3.000 hectares claimed by the community are under the office of the mennonite cooperative Chortitzer, owner of the He’ê (Sweet) Lagoon Inn, and that in a maneuver to avoid the expropriation they managed to get the place declared as a natural reserve. The lagoon present at the interior of the Inn occupies a preeminent place in the Sanapaná cultural memory and imaginery, since in Chaco’s geographical conditions the sweet water mirrors are highly appreciated and motive of a rich mystical and narrative tradition.

On his behalf, Indi’s president, Aldo Zaldívar, said that this long lasting problem, from over 25 years, will be resolved due to the decision of the actual government. At the time the organism said that the delay was consequence of the high price in the sale offer that the owners of the Salazar Inn, Roberto Eaton and Stanley Mobsby, proposed. A valuation of the Public Works and Communication Ministry (MOPC), valuated the property in 3.600.000 guaraníes per hectare (around 780 USD in 2014), while the owners demanded 1.650 USD per hectare. The agreement was closed in 800 USD per hectare, according to official information of the Inti.

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