The Land Situation of the Indians and new Settlements
According to paragraph 64 of the national constitution (Constitución Nacional) the Indians have the right to own land without expenses and they don’t have to pay taxes on it; then, however, it can’t be leased, mortgaged, nor divided. The Indian law 904/81 says in paragraph 18 that the Indians in Eastern Paraguay have the right to 20 ha land per family and in the Chaco 100 ha per family.
In September 1961 a settlement project was worked out with the goal of settling 700 Indian families during the following 10 years. In April 1967 the goal had already been achieved and after 10 years there were already 1000 families that had been settled.
During the years 1979 to 1988 the following settlements were founded: La Armonía, Nueva Promesa, Paz del Chaco, Casuarina and Nich`a Toyish.
During the last few years the following new settlements were made:
P.S.: All land was bought by the ASCIM, except for Anaconda, where the ASCIM paid 25% and the Paraguayan government 75%.
Over the years ASCIM has negotiated about 160,000 hectares of land for the Indian. This was only possible with the strong support from MCC, ICCO and IMO. Land is very important, but to make a new settlement, basic infrastructure is needed.
New settlements become necessary because of the natural population growth. Besides that there is immigration to the central Chaco. Another reason is the centralization of the various services and the search for work.
What does the current land situation look like?
According to the national census approximately 50,000 Indians live in the Chaco. If we assume that there are 5 people in one family that would make 10,000 families. To do justice to law 904/81 which intends 100 hectares for every family, you currently need 1,000,000 hectares of land. However, it is important to remember that the population grows around 4% annually.
PRODECHACO has drawn up a map, on which theoretically 1,164,955 ha have been reserved for Indians. As the ASCIM we currently still have 37,847 ha.
Currently there are 255 families in the various settlements who would like to move on to “their own” land.
From the ASCIM we are looking for financial support to ensure that the families who want to live on the land are equipped with the basics.
Ing. Agr. Eduard Klassen
Director of the ASCIM
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