Indigenous Communities in Paraguay and Ecuador Sign Declaration to Promote Enforcement of Decisions related to the Right to Land

Representatives of the Sarayaku people (Ecuador), Dejusticia (Colombia), and Fundación Pachamama (Ecuador), with the support of ESCR-Net, came together at meetings organized by the Enxet-Sanapaná people together with Tierraviva (Paraguay) on September 26-27.  The discussions focused on enforcing decisions by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR).  Three Enxet and Sanapaná indigenous communities from Paraguay (Yakye Axa, Sawhoyamaxa and Xámok Kásek) and the Sarayaku original community in Ecuador succeeded in obtaining IACHR decisions which demand that the States of Paraguay and Ecuador protect their right to land.  However, the States have so far neither returned the land to the three communities in Paraguay nor removed explosives from the land of the Sarayaku in Ecuador.

Meeting in Sawhoyamaxa land

The Yakye Axa (IACHR decision) have lived for over twenty years near the road, next to their lands. They are now waiting for the construction of an access road to alternative lands to be complete so that they can move to the latter lands.  The Xámok Kásek (IACHR decision) now live in lands made available by a supportive indigenous community as they wait for the government to buy their lands back from a private company.  The Sawhoyamaxa (IACHR decision) have reoccupied their lands but still face insecurity due to the government’s delay in expropriating their lands to grant them the title.

Access to education, food, water and healthcare is scarce to nonexistent, in spite of the IACHR decisions.  The money originally allocated for a development fund to help the Sawhoyamaxa and Yakye Axa was spent otherwise.


Paraguayan indigenous communities and the Sarayaku in Ecuador signed a declaration of mutual support to demand that the 2014 budget includes enough funds to buy the lands of the Xámok Kásek, to expropriate the lands on behalf of the Sawhoyamaxa, and to complete construction of a road to access the alternative lands of the Yakye Axa.  Regarding Ecuador, the declaration highlights that explosives must be removed from the Sarayaku land (IACHR decision).

To read the declaration (in Spanish), click here.

Nelson Gualinga, a Sarayaku leader

 Meeting in Sawhoyamaxa land


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