February 1, 2019
Dr. Joel Correia, Center and Tropical Conservation and Development faculty, was interviewed by World Politics Review (WPR) regarding deforestation in Paraguay and its disproportionate impact on the country’s indigenous peoples.
It is difficult to make blanket statements about the effects of deforestation on indigenous communities in Paraguay due to the diversity of indigenous peoples and the challenges they face. Two percent of Paraguay’s population identifies as indigenous, yet there are 19 different indigenous peoples in the country. Considering this diversity, recent reports from the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Open Society Justice Initiative show an alarming trend: Indigenous peoples often do not have a place at the table to influence the policy decisions and development initiatives that affect their communities. This is partly evidenced by the fact that Paraguay has no law or clear policy framework to facilitate protocols of free, prior and informed consent, as required by the International Labor Organization’s Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, which Paraguay ratified in 1993. Moreover, the government agency that is charged with adjudicating indigenous affairs is one of the least-funded federal entities in the country.