Paraguay - Sawhoyamaxa

Women of the Sawhoyamaxa community ©Tierra Viva

The indigenous community of Yakye Axa and Sawhoyamaxa have traditionally inhabited el Chaco Paraguayo. Both communities have faced serious problems with regard to the possession their ancestral lands. In particular, in the 1930s there was an increase in the number of non-indigenous settlers in the region, which was caused by the communities' land being transferred to private third parties. These new proprietors divided up the land without recognizing the rights of the indigenous communities. The proprietors exploited the indigenous people as workers and created difficult living conditions by limiting their access to land and disregarding the importance of resources for the subsistence of their culture.

In both cases the communities obtained rulings against the Paraguayan State in their favor. The deadline for the restitution of the land to these communities has expired and the government has not complied with the orders. People continue to die of diseases related to a lack of access to the basic resources. 

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