Indigenous Families Stgo. del Estero

What is affected
Housing private
Type of violation Forced eviction
Date 12 December 2006
Region LAC [ Latin America/Caribbean ]
Country Argentina
Location Lote 4, Pozo del Toba, Quimilí, Department of Moreno, Santiago del Estero

Affected persons

Total 80
Men 0
Women 0
Children 0
Proposed solution
Forced eviction

Duty holder(s) /responsible party(ies)

Brief narrative

Source: FIAN International The indigenous families of Lote 4, Pozo del Toba, Quimilí, Department of Moreno, Santiago del Estero, in north-eastern Argentina, were violently evicted by state police forces, who acted on behalf of Soya growers. The pacific and continuous possession of these families for more than 20 years had been recognized officially in 1994. Now the judiciary has taken sides aiming at selling this land to national and international Soya producers, thus causing a serious violation of the Right to Food of these indigenous people. Background On 1st of November of 2006 the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament of Argentina passed Law 26.160 which declares a four year moratorium for land occupied by indigenous communities, which suspends all evictions for this period of time. Despite this law, Judge Fernando Curet of the 4th Civil Law Court of Santiago del Estero ordered the eviction of the peasant families on November 15th 2006, an eviction which was carried out in a very violent way. These families are also members of the Peasant Movement of Santiago del Estero (Mocase-Via Campesina). Furthermore the above mentioned Law says in Art. 5, that “...the indigenous communities have legal personality under public not state law and their declaratory inscription can be made in the National Register for Indigenous Communities and in those registers which might have the same effect.” Art. 6 also says: “…the communal property cannot be disposed of, cannot be transferred, cannot be impounded, the land titles will be handed out with any cost”. Since 1994, the community started to feel the pressure of agribusiness through the enacting of the provincial legislative institutions. Even though the official possession was recognised legally for part of the land, this was a much smaller portion of the extension recognised officially before that. In 2005, the community presented a report to the Justice Ministry of the Province about the situation and the risk of being deprived of their land. As there already existed a law suit in 2005, the community addressed the corresponding judge, Dr. Fernando Curet (4th Civil Law court), informing him that they were the affected party in this case, as they are an indigenous community undergoing the formal recognition process with I.N.A.I. (National Institute for Indigenous Affairs). The community – some 80 persons – had asked for 1509 ha. Nevertheless, the judge did not take this into consideration and pressed matters which led to the eviction of the community on November 15, 2006, deploying special police forces consisting of 120 heavily armed men. The community denounced the eviction to I.N.A.I. (case I.N.A.I.- 50405-2005), to the National Sub-Secretary of Land, and to the Provincial Justice Ministry. With the eviction of these persons, they are being prevented from having access to the resources which they need for their livelihood. Thereby, the guarantee to respect their right to food has been violated, to which the State of Argentine is obliged, according to international law.

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