Sawhoyamaxa Indigenous Community v. Paraguay (Ser. C No. 146)

Submitted by Kelly Russo on Thu, 03/30/2006 - 00:00
Regional Decisions
Inter-American Court

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights held that Paraguay violated Articles 21 and 4 of the American Convention on Human Rights in delaying the processing of the tribe's territorial claims, which had the effect of barring the tribe from possessing its land and exposing them to nutritional, medical, and health vulnerability, thereby threatening their lives and integrity. Additionally, the Court found violations of Articles 8, 25, and 3 of the Convention because of the unreasonable length and flaws in the proceedings for the return of their ancestral land, as well as the State's failure to recognize the legal personality of the tribe. Articles 21, 4, 8, 25, and 3 of the American Convention on Human Rights recognize the right of American peoples to property, life, fair trial, judicial protection, and recognition before the law, respectively. The Court ordered the State to adopt all legislative and administrative measures necessary to return the tribe their ancestral lands, and provide the tribe with basic supplies and services in the interim.