By BASE-IS, Latin American Summary, September 19, 2023.
The report Always standing. People who defend the land and the environment to the climate crisisof the organization Global Witness, collects data on cases of violence against people, communities and organizations defending Human Rights. This year, for the first time, data is recorded about Paraguay, where three fighters for the land and in defense of the environment were murdered in 2022.
“Over the past 11 years, Global Witness has documented and reported waves of threats, violence and murders of land and environmental defenders around the planet. The year 2022 marks the beginning of our second decade documenting deadly attacks,” states the presentation of the Report. Regarding the data collected, the Organization highlights that last year “at least 177 defenders lost their lives protecting our planet, on average during 2022 one defender was murdered every two days.”
“The situation in Latin America continues to be especially worrying. In 2022, 88% of murders occurred in this region, an increasingly accentuated majority of the cases recorded worldwide,” Global Witness highlights regarding the situation in the region.
In Paraguay, three cases of murdered fighters are cited, the first is that of Francisco Villalba, a resident of the community of Aguapety, located on the border between the departments of Caaguazú and Guairá, who was fighting against the rice farmers who had dried up a stream within his community. , was murdered in January 2022 by five gunshots by unknown assailants. The El Surtidor report reconstructs the fight of Francisco and the community against the extractivist model and its impact on the lives of citizens.
The murder of Edgar Centurión, a farmer from Itapúa, which occurred on June 15, 2022, is the second case recorded in Paraguay. Members of the Special Operations Group (GEO) of the National Police murdered the young 29-year-old farmer. This crime was committed. within the framework of a police operation carried out to protect the sowing of wheat crops by Agroganadera Industrial Kuma SA, on the lands occupied by the 1° de Mayo Settlement more than two decades ago, located in Pirapey, in the Department of Itapúa; The forensic doctor of the Public Ministry, Gustavo Cabrera, confirmed that the 29-year-old young man had 21 bullet entry and exit holes in various parts of his body. The story of Edgar and the fight for land is found in this BASE-IS Special Report.
Artemio Cabral, was the third fighter murdered in 2022, a farmer, a resident of the Santa Lucía Colony, Itakyry District, Alto Paraná, died on September 16 after four days of agony at the Ciudad del Este Trauma Hospital. Cabral was shot by armed guards, at the service of the Agroganadera La Leña, which sought to irregularly occupy the lands that the State had expropriated to hand over to the peasants of Ñacunday.
A total of 1,910 land and environmental defenders have been murdered since 2012 according to data collected by Global Witness. This year, through joint work with BASE-IS, for the first time the cases that occurred in Paraguay could be recorded, where violence in the fight for land has cost the lives of at least 128 people from 1989 to the present.
Download the Always Standing Report Land and environmental defenders at the forefront of the climate crisis