Forest Peoples Programme Supporting forest peoples’ rights

Statement from the indigenous members of FAPI - Global Call to Action on Indigenous and Community Land Rights

2 March, 2016

Today on the 2nd of March, day of the Global Call to Action on Indigenous and Community Land Rights we, the members of the Federación por la Autodeterminación de los Pueblos Indígenas – FAPI (Federation for the Self-Determination of Indigenous Peoples) of Paraguay representing the indigenous community Cheiro Ara Poty, of the Mbya Guarani people, who have managed to legalize part of their customary territory after 34 years of struggles and claims, state as follows:

As Indigenous Peoples we continue to ask for the legalization and security of our territories and hence demand respect for our fundamental rights, in order to have them acknowledged through public policies and concrete measures to be implemented by government bodies.

We are committed to be Guardians of the Forests, not only with the communication campaign that we launched late last year but as a commitment to our own lives, our history and future generations, considering the terrible situation we are experiencing as a result of the accelerated deforestation and climate change that is heavily impacting on our traditional ways of life and weakening our security and food sovereignty.

 The Global Call to Action is taking place today with the participation of several partner organisations around the world. This initiative urges to: 

• Respect the environment and combat climate change effectively.
• Eradicate poverty and hunger in our countries.
• Promote the respect and protection of Human Rights and a world of Justice for all.

We consider that the fundamental rights of Indigenous Peoples and future generations to come will be protected and respected with the measures mentioned above, together with the platform of the new Sustainable Development Goals, which include a firm commitment to end poverty and to ensure that by 2030 all men and women - particularly those living in poverty and vulnerability – will have equal rights to ownership, control, and sustainable management of land and natural resources. This also includes us as Indigenous Peoples and local communities as we all enjoy collective rights.

Considering all of the above, we believe that the Paraguayan government should:

• Legalise all our genuine claims for the restitution of our lands and territories as Indigenous Peoples and communities of Paraguay who are in the midst of proceedings before national and international bodies.
• Ensure the protection and enforcement of precautionary measures granted by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in favour of the Ayoreo Totobiegosode.
• Begin a serious process of historic reparation for the violations of territorial rights perpetrated against the Ava Guaraní and Mbya Guaraní peoples following the construction of the Itaipu and Yacyreta hydroelectric dams, as declared in September 2015 before the United Nations Human Rights Council.
• Respect our right as Indigenous Peoples to decide, plan, and implement the actions which guarantee our own development.
• Consult Indigenous Peoples before the promotion or development of action plans or projects which affect our lives, resources and traditional ways of live in order to obtain our free, prior and informed consent.
• Strengthen positive actions and good practices in order to build a participative process for the effective juridical security of indigenous territories. 
• Not only give assistance to indigenous communities in states of emergency, but also build participatory processes to promote and ensure the full exercise of our fundamental rights.

This call is not an isolated act, it is the beginning of the actions which, once articulated, will make us visible as brothers and sisters who jointly defend and promote their fundamental rights.