Urgent Action Victory! Indigenous Land Defender Receives Protection (Paraguay: UA 160.20)

December 21, 2020

In November, Paraguayan authorities opened an investigation and provided protection to Bernarda Pesoa, leader of an indigenous Qom community, after she was attacked in late October. We continue to monitor the situation closely as the land conflict related to wood exploitation on Qom lands persist.

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NO FURTHER ACTION IS REQUESTED. MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO SENT APPEALS.

After our Urgent Action on 29 October, authorities responded rapidly on the case and concrete outcomes occurred for Bernarda Pesoa, who had been physically attacked on her community lands on 27 October.  The case received significant attention from authorities and the situation of Bernarda improved. In the early November, public prosecutors opened an investigation, and during the rest of the month a judge ordered protection measures for Bernarda, after a formal mediation process established with the community, the public defender’s office assigned Bernarda a defense lawyer, and the Senate opened dialogue process sessions on her case, to which Amnesty International was invited to.

The issue of free, prior, informed consent continues to be an issue in the community, and Bernarda and other community members are concerned that the eucalyptus plantation on their lands has not been properly consulted with all community members. The situation on the ground continues to be delicate for Bernarda, and we continue to monitor the context closely.

Bernarda Pessoa said “Thanks to Amnesty International for supporting me by issuing this Urgent Action that had an important impact in our struggle around this difficult time. We received a lot of solidarity actions and increased media presence. We will continue our fight in resistance to the company looking to own our lands”.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES