October 22, 2001, the State forwarded additional information to the Commission, which was
transmitted to the petitioners on October 26.
8. On November 13, 2001, during the 113th regular session of the Commission, in the
framework of a working meeting, the parties signed an “Agreement to Seek Common Ground”
(“Acuerdo de Acercamiento de Voluntades”).
9. On June 18, 2002, the petitioners submitted additional information, which was transmitted
to the State for its observations. In addition, on June 28, 2002, the State submitted additional
information, which was forwarded to the petitioners for their observations.
10. On December 24, 2002, the petitioners informed the Commission of its decision to
withdraw from the friendly settlement process; that note was transmitted to the State on
December 27, requesting that it submit its arguments on admissibility within 30 days.
11. On December 8, 2002, the Commission, through the Executive Secretariat, visited the
Sawhoyamaxa Community.
12. On January 27, 2003, the State informed the IACHR that it would submit its observations
in response to the Commission’s note of December 27 as soon as possible. On January 29, it
requested 10 more days to submit them. On February 10, 2003, the State submitted its
observations.
A.

Friendly settlement process

13. In its first answer brief the State asked the IACHR to mediate an effort to reach a friendly
settlement. On November 13, 2001, during the 113th regular session of the IACHR, the parties
signed an “Agreement to Seek Common Ground” in which they undertook to begin negotiations
in an effort to reach a friendly settlement. In the framework of this process, the parties held
meetings in Asunción, Paraguay.
14. On December 24, 2002, the petitioners informed the Commission of the decision by the
Sawhoyamaxa Community to withdraw from the process of direct negotiations with the
Government, and to consider terminated the agreement to seek common ground that had
been signed November 13, 2001 by the parties, in view of the lack of results obtained in the
framework of the friendly settlement effort offered by the Paraguayan State, the time elapsed,
and the absence of concrete measures of reparation for the violations alleged. The State, in its
observations of February 10, 2003, lamented the petitioners’ decision to end the process of
pursuing a friendly settlement, and expressed its decision to continue making the necessary
efforts to reach such a settlement. It added that ending the friendly settlement effort and
taking indigenous cases to an adversarial stage could be to the detriment, rather than the
benefit, of the general interest, in this case the rights of the indigenous peoples.
III.

THE PARTIES’ POSITIONS

A.

The petitioners

15. The petitioners allege that the Paraguayan State has violated Articles 1(1), 2, 8(1), 21,
and 25 of the Convention, to the detriment of the Sawhoyamaxa Indigenous Community of the
Enxet People and its members by failing to restore to the Community part of its ancestral
lands. They add that the Paraguayan Constitution recognizes the right of indigenous peoples to
develop their ways of life in their own habitat,1 without the State, to this day, having resolved
to provide their ancestral lands to the Indigenous Community.
1 Article 63. On ethnic identity. The right of the indigenous peoples to preserve and develop their ethnic identity in the
respective habitat is recognized and guaranteed. They also have the right to apply freely their systems of political,
social, economic, cultural, and religious organization, as well as the voluntary subjection to their customary rules of

2

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