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Yakye Axa Indigenous Community v. Paraguay 

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Court/Judicial body: Inter-American Court of Human Rights  
Date: 17 June 2005 
Instrument(s) cited: American Convention on Human Rights 

Case summary

By not respecting the ancestral property rights of the Yakye Axa Indigenous Community, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights alleged that the Government of Paraguay threatened the Community’s access to food and water, health care, and survival in violation of Articles 4 (right to life), 8 (right to fair trial), 21 (right to property) and 25 (judicial protection) of the American Convention on Human Rights. Noting that States have a obligation to take into account the economic and social characteristics, special vulnerability, and customary laws, values and customs of indigenous peoples in order to effectively protect them, the Court found that Paraguay’s delay in recognizing the Community’s leadership, legal status and claims to land violated their rights to judicial protection, to a fair trial, to property, and ultimately to a decent life. The Court also found that the Community had a right to be granted legal status in order to take advantage of their full rights as a people, and that Paraguay’s ongoing refusal to recognize that status was a violation of this right. As such, the Court ordered that Paraguay provide the Yakye Axa with reparations including compensation, food and water, sanitation, access to health care, and rightful to their traditional territory.

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