The rights of indigenous people has been a constant struggle on every continent in our world. While some countries have managed to sow up old wounds, others continue to fall short on their promises. Paraguay appears to be one of those that are still locked in the battle.
The country hosts two prominent indigenous groups, the Yakye Axa and the Sawhoyamaxa, that have suffered continuously for many years. Both communities have been displaced and are unable to find a proper place to live, which means that they are going without water and food, proper sanitation, and have no access to education for their children.
Despite previous rulings in 2005 and 2006 by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights to restore land to the indigenous tribes, the Paraguayan government is still not fulfilling its duty. A new bill has been introduced that tackles the issue of redistribution of land but congressional approval is still pending. Human Rights Watch is encouraging the government to act faster since there is no time to waste in this matter. Almost 30 members of these tribes have died recently, mostly due to preventable causes. A large number of these deaths were children.
The struggle has been seen in every corner of the globe. Indigenous people’s land has been forcibly stripped from them, often leading to violent deaths. Those surviving were left to a dismal future. Many tribes, even in the United States, Canada, and Australia, have been waiting for decades for restitution. It seems somewhat incomprehensible that those who originally lived on the land are now not only unable to regain possession of that land, but are also struggling to gain access to basic necessities. There is great sadness and absurdity in a situation where people now stand begging for what is rightfully theirs.