For over 10 years, authorities allowed companies to use banned agrochemicals that affected the local ecosystems and population.
On Oct 13, the United Nations Human Rights Committee (OHCHR) ruled against the Paraguayan State for allowing the pollution of the ancestral lands of the Ava Guarani Indigenous people.
During the last decades, the Paraguayan authorities have allowed large companies to contaminate the resources of the Campo de Agua'e community, which represents a violation of the human rights of the Indigenous population.
Using banned agrochemicals, those companies have caused the death of breeding animals, the destruction of crops, and the pollution of the water. Herbicide spraying has also caused health conditions related to diarrhea, vomiting, respiratory problems, and headaches.
As a result of the OHCHR ruling, the Paraguayan State is obliged to adopt protective measures for the population.
"These should include formal investigations and effective sanctions against those responsible for the pollution, as well as the restoration of the environment," the Campo de Agua'e community's attorney Hugo Valiente explained.
The OHCHR ruling, which also recommended the Paraguayan State to compensate the victims, states that the notion of "home" should be understood within the context of the special relationship that Indigenous peoples keep with their territories. Failure to protect their lands means a direct harm against their culture, traditions, identity, and existence.
The Campo Agua'e community filed an environmental damage complaint to the Paraguayan authorities 12 years ago. The investigations into what happened, however, have not progressed so far.