The UN Human Rights Committee concluded in a historical opinion that Paraguay violated the rights of an indigenous community by failing to prevent contamination of ancestral lands that inhabits by the intensive use of pesticides of agricultural companies. “Paraguay did not adequately monitor the fumigation and was unable to prevent contamination.”
The United Nations entity described the ruling as historic because is the first to establish that, in the case of indigenous peoples, the notion of “domicile” should be understood as “the special relationship they have with their territories, including their livestock, crops, and their way of life related to hunting, gathering and fishing “.
The case of the indigenous community of Campo Agua’ẽ
The Committee’s opinion responds to a complaint filed by an indigenous leader and a teacher from the community school, on behalf of the 201 members of the Campo Agua’ẽ indigenous community, of the Ava Guaraní People.
The indigenous community of Campo Agua’ẽ – located in the department of Canindeyú – lives in an area surrounded by large agricultural companies that spray to produce genetically modified soybeans.
“This fumigation has killed the livestock of the indigenous community and affected their subsistence crops and fruit trees, as well as resources from hunting, fishing and gathering,” indicates the Committee’s opinion.
The indigenous community presented complaints to the Paraguayan justice without results before taking the case before the Human Rights Committee.
“This omission in their duty to protect allowed that they continued for many years massive fumigations and contrary to internal regulations, destroying constituent elements of the private, family life and domicile of the affected indigenous community”, Says the opinion.
The Committee “recommends that Paraguay continue with the criminal and administrative proceedings against those responsible, make comprehensive reparations to the victims for the damage suffered, take all necessary measures, in close consultation with the community, to repair environmental degradation, and take steps to prevent similar violations in the future“.