Paraguay is one of several countries in Latin America where soya plantations are expanding rapidly, now encouraged by the biofuel boom which drives up soya prices and thus profits for the soya companies. 2 million hectares of land in Paraguay are already under soya monocultures. In order to expand the plantations, rainforests are being destroyed and small farmers are being driven off the land. An estimated 90,000 families have been forced off their land already. Biodiverse traditional farming systems, on which people depend for their food sovereignty, are being turned into large monocultures which are sprayed from the air with pesticides, poisoning people, wildlife and water supplies. Paraguay has one of the most unequal land distributions in the world and government forces have helped plantation companies to enforce very dubious claims to land rights, sometimes through violence.
The farmers’ organisation MAP (Agrarian and Popular Movement) are calling for urgent international support to prevent further violence and the eviction of young landless workers from a soya plantation in Pariri, which they had peacefully recuperated from a plantation owner who had no legal right to the land. Similar evictions, like the one threatened now, have ended in large numbers of arrests, including of children, and people being shot by police. Without international attention, there is a high risk of violence against MAP members and the community in Pariri.
Please write to the Paraguayan authorities now an request that they protect the human rights of the community in Pariri and members of the MAP, that the eviction does not go ahead, that the land reform state agency carries out a full audit of landholdings in Pariri province and that Land Reform laws are enforced.
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