Press Releases


Illegal logging in Paraguay

Uncontacted indigenous peoples under existential threat

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) warns that the indigenous Ayoreo communities in Paraguay are under existential threat due to a massive increase in illegal logging activities. “The situation of the indigenous communities in the region of Faro Moro is alarming. The ongoing forest clearing by companies such as Faro Moro Limited is a threat to the entire ecosystem in Gran Chaco and to the livelihood of the indigenous communities,” stated Jan Königshausen, STP expert on indigenous peoples.

In an urgent appeal, the Ayoreo communities call for an immediate end to the forest clearing and for effective protection measures. Otherwise, the last indigenous communities living in voluntary isolation outside the Amazon basin in South America might lose their important natural habitat. Further, there are unintended encounters between uncontacted Ayoreo groups and the outside world, which can pose a threat to both sides. In January, an indigenous man living in voluntary isolation was found murdered, as the newspaper El País reported. 

“The Paraguayan authorities are obligated to protect the indigenous population,” Königshausen criticized. “The Ayoreo communities are threatened in their existence because the government and the authorities are not enforcing existing laws and international agreements to protect indigenous peoples!” 

In May 2023, the Ayoreo communities filed an application for a temporary injunction to stop deforestation immediately. However, this request was rejected by the relevant authorities. In their appeal, the Ayoreo communities demanded:

  • An immediate end to the illegal logging in the region of Faro Moro.
  • Effective protection measures to preserve the settlement areas of the indigenous Ayoreo communities.
  • Legal review and sanctioning of the activities of Faro Moro Limited and other involved companies.
  • Compliance with national and international legislation to protect indigenous peoples.

“We are calling on the Paraguayan government to immediately implement the appeal of the Ayoreo communities and to respect the international agreements on the protection of indigenous communities. The deforestation is a clear violation of these agreements,” Königshausen said.  

Deforestation in the Chaco region has reached devastating proportions: According to Global Forest Watch, Paraguay lost more than 6.28 million hectares of forest between 2001 and 2019 – more than a quarter of the country’s total forest area. This is mainly done to create grazing land for cattle breeding and the cultivation of soy for the international market. There is also a trend to convert the deforested areas into eucalyptus plantations, aiming to use these for the global emissions trade.