As part of the National Day for the Respect of Cultural Diversity held on Tuesday, Indigenous organizations demonstrated in front of the Argentine Congress to demand the extension of Law 26.160, which protects Indigenous peoples from being evicted from the lands they inhabit.
This “emergency law” was approved in late 2006 for a term of four years and was extended three times. However, it will expire in November.
“This law should make a census of the Indigenous peoples, and this requires a budget, yet it never arrived. At the moment, it is undoubtedly a ‘ghost law,’” stated Enrique Mamani, the president of the Organization of Indigenous Peoples’ Communities
The demonstrators also called for the approval of a community property law to obtain land titles for their territories and end the legal insecurity that Indigenous communities experience.
Mamani declared that both the extension of the emergency law and the approval of the community property law are necessary to preserve the Indigenous peoples’ culture and philosophy. “We do not want to be like the United States, where they live in reservations and do not own territory,” he said.
The Indigenous peoples organized a small fair at the Congress square, where they exhibited handicrafts and traditional remedies. This demonstration took place on the Indigenous Peoples Resistance Day.
“On Oct. 12, we should think about our history, the convergence of cultures, and the Conquest. Today we commemorate Indigenous peoples, who were victims of violence and discrimination for centuries,” Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez tweeted.
The Argentinean legislation recognizes the existence of 35 Indigenous peoples, which comprise some 955,032 citizens, according to the 2010 census.