On 11 November, Earthsight published accounts from two former and one current employee in Paraguay's environment ministry (MADES).
The testimonies, which followed on from our recently published Grand Theft Chaco investigation, described an institutional culture within the ministry which puts the interests of Paraguay’s landowning class above its environmental law.
The whistleblower accounts have garnered huge attention in Paraguay, and renewed focus on the Grand Theft Chaco report, which linked leather used by European car companies to illegal deforestation and abuses of indigenous rights in the country.
Following a public response from MADES to the 11 November report, Earthsight offers the following statement:
"Earthsight provided Paraguayan authorities with detailed evidence of recent illegal deforestation and other illegalities within the PNCAT indigenous reserve in our 30 September 2020 report but the government has failed to act.
"They have not announced an investigation nor said they plan to launch one. If the Paraguyan government wants to demonstrate that its administration is different to previous ones, then the best way to do that would be for it to start by fully investigating these cases, including our more recent evidence regarding fires on the same ranches, and to do so in a transparent manner.
"The administration must also act to tackle the roots of these problems, including by increasing transparency of information regarding land use.
"Earthsight believes the government already has everything it needs to act, but nevertheless stands ready to assist in working towards preventing further destruction of forests and indigenous lands in Paraguay."