Forum on Indigenous Issues Denounces Servitude in Guaraní Communities
The Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues of the United Nations expressed concern today over the practice of servitude that exists in the community of Alto Parapetí in Santa Cruz. The president of the forum, Victoria Tauli, said that, “throughout the years there has existed much slavery and the people of the community Alto Parapetí told [me] so, so I´m very worried, the Forum is very worried and will work on this problem.”
In February the Assembly of the Guaraní Peoples issued a statement denouncing the subjugation of Guaraní children to servitude and sexual abuse in the Guaraní communities of Alto Camari, Guaraka, Irenda, and Alto Parapetí. According to the testimony of Assembly President Celso Padilla, all of the community Guaraka lives within the hacienda of the Chávez family. Children in the community are forced to work in a school garden which feeds the landlord´s family and those who refuse are expelled from the school and sometimes the community. In Irenda, children are transported at night to a chicken farm, where they are forced to pluck chickens until 4 am. Their grueling work schedule leaves no time for sleep, much less homework or play.
According to the Assembly of Guaraní Peoples, the lives of servitude of 800 families in Alto Parapetí amounts to modern-day slavery. “There are still communities that live in slavery, not to the point of being in chains, but in servitude, there isn´t a just salary,” said President Padilla. He continued, “it has advanced in recent years and the situation used to be much worse, nevertheless the situation is not resolved and the objective of the Assembly of Guaraní Peoples that all enjoy freedom.”
For more in Spanish see: