Indigenous communities under severe attacks


During the last months of 2018, several cases of intimidation and harassment of indigenous communities in Paraguay were reported. For example, on 7th November 2018, it was reported that around 80 police officers and soy producers from Brazil surrounded the land inhabited by the Makutinga indigenous community in San Rafael de el Paraná. The territory, where 28 indigenous families live, is part of the ancestral territory of Mbya Guarani and has been recognised by the National Indigenous Institute (INDI). Eriberto Fernández, community leader, said that they are "hostages in their own land". 

In December 2018, the citizen movement “Basta ya” issued a statement condemning the violation of the rights of indigenous communities due to agribusiness and the expansion of the soybean production. The movement demands that the government stop the evictions of indigenous communities from their ancestral land. 

In addition, on 10th December 2018, civil society organisation Coordinadora de Derechos Humanos del Paraguay (Paraguayan Human Rights Coordination, Codehupy) published the Human Rights Annual Report documenting an increasing number of conflicts between indigenous communities and corporations. The report identifies an increase in violent situations, especially among Guaraní communities of Tekoha Sauce, Itakyry, Jetyty Mirí, Makutinga, located in Alto Paraná, Canindeyú and Itapúa departments. 

Peaceful Assembly

In December 2018, media outlets reported that around 200 indigenous families occupied several areas in downtown Asuncion to demand a meeting with President Mario Abdo Benitez in addition to the dismissal of the head of the National Indigenous Institute (INDI) for "not defending their communities from people who want to uproot them from their land". The community camped in the areas for weeks despite threats of eviction by the police.