Land is life to us – Sawhoyamaxa, Paraguay
Paraguay in focus ⬿

Land is life to us – Sawhoyamaxa, Paraguay

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John Ahni Schertow
March 22, 2013
 

The Enxet community of Sawhoyamaxa has been living beside a road for more than 20 years. When will Paraguay comply with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ decision to return ancestral lands to the Sawhoyamaxa?

The community is no longer waiting to find out. On 21 March 2013, Sawhoyamaxa community announced that they will return to occupy their ancestral lands.

“During these 20 years we have been living along the side of a road, watching how cows occupy the land where we used to live and where our parents lived. These lands are ours, and we do not want to live any longer along the side of this road, witnessing powerlessly the birth of our children and the death of our parents and grandparents from this road.

“Our culture, language and traditions are inextricably linked to this land. Without this land, we run the risk of disintegrating as a community.”

As a part of this effort, the Enxet community calls on the Paraguayan State to “refrain from carrying out any action that would threaten the community in its legitimate struggle to recover its lands, and that it guarantee that no third party threaten our lives or our physical integrity”.

They also call on “our indigenous brothers and sisters to express solidarity with our struggle; similarly, we call to any person who understands our demands to express their solidarity, demanding that the Paraguayan State return our lands. No more expulsion of indigenous peoples! Land restitution for Sawhoyamaxa!

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