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Paraguayan state allegedly violated indigenous land rights.

Paraguayan Indians in Interamerican session (Photo IPS)

One of the three public hearings held this week in Lima by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights discussed the responsibility of the Paraguayan state for violations of the right of indigenous communities to collective ownership of their land.

Paraguay is the Latin American country facing the largest number of complaints in the Inter-American Court regarding failure to respect indigenous land rights.

Three members of the Xákmok Kásek indigenous community set forth their case before the Court Wednesday in Lima.

The community, which is demanding the return of 10,700 hectares in western Paraguay, argues that they need their traditional land to maintain their way of life, which depends on hunting, fishing and gathering wild fruits.

The land in dispute, in the west-central province of Presidente Hayes – which has one of the highest concentrations of Amerindians in the country – was gradually sold off to ranchers, and indigenous people were crowded onto increasingly smaller areas of land. “We’ve been corralled,” Marcelino López, a Xákmok Kásek community leader, told IPS.READ MORE HERE.