August 8, 2020

The Inter-American Court condemns Argentina and orders title to indigenous lands



The Inter-American Court of Human Rights (I / A Court HR) condemned Argentina for violations of the rights of 132 indigenous communities within the province of Salta and ordered it to deliver title deeds to their ancestral lands within 6 years.

The Inter-American Court, based in Costa Rica, published this Thursday the judgment in which it indicates the Argentine State as responsible for the violation of the rights to community property, cultural identity, a healthy environment, adequate food and water. of 132 indigenous communities belonging to the Wichí, Iyjwaja, Komlek, Niwackle and Tapy’y peoples.

This case was presented by the Lhaka Honhat Association (Our Land) before the invasion of ancestral lands that calculates in 400,000 hectares.

The Inter-American Court concluded that the State violated the right to community property, by not providing legal certainty to it and allowing the presence of “creole”, non-indigenous, residents in the territory.

“The foregoing, despite the fact that the indigenous property claim has been in existence for more than 28 years. It was also concluded that Argentina does not have adequate regulations to sufficiently guarantee the community property right,” the Inter-American Court of Human Rights explained.

The ruling adds that the State did not follow adequate mechanisms for consulting indigenous communities about an international bridge built on its territory.

The Court also determined that the State violated the rights to cultural identity, a healthy environment, adequate food and water, due to “the lack of effectiveness of state measures to stop activities that were harmful.”

The judges indicated that illegal logging and other activities carried out in the territory by the Creole population, specifically livestock and the installation of fences, affected environmental assets, affecting the traditional way of feeding indigenous communities and their access to water.

All this “altered the indigenous way of life, damaging their cultural identity,” according to the ruling.

FAILURE RESULTS

The Inter-American Court ordered the Argentine State that within a period of six years from this Thursday it must “adopt and conclude the necessary actions in order to delimit, demarcate and grant a title that recognizes the property of the 132 victim indigenous communities.”

In addition, within this period the State must “specify the transfer of the Creole population outside of indigenous territory,” as well as remove the fencing and livestock belonging to non-indigenous settlers.

The State must also abstain from carrying out acts, works or undertakings on the indigenous territory or that may affect its existence, value, use or enjoyment, without the prior provision of information to the victim indigenous communities, as well as from carrying out adequate prior consultations. , free and informed.

Another point of the sentence orders the Argentine State to present to the Inter-American Court within six months a study that identifies critical situations of lack of access to drinking water or food.

Within a year, the State must also prepare a study establishing actions for water conservation and to avoid and remedy its contamination; guarantee permanent access to drinking water; prevent the loss of forest resources from continuing and seek their recovery.

The judges also ordered Argentina to create a community development fund and implement its execution within a period not exceeding four years.

Another order is the adoption of legislative or other measures to provide legal certainty to the indigenous community property right.

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