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Argentina found guilty of massacre of Qom and Moqoit people

Massacre of Qom and Moqoit: Argentina’s state was found guilty of the slaughter of more than 400 indigenous people almost a century ago in a landmark criminal trial. When officials shot the Qom and Moqoit tribes in 1924, they were protesting harsh living and working conditions on a cotton farm.No blame had ever been formally acknowledged until today.

A judge has now ordered that the communities get historical reparations. The Qom and Moqoit peoples of Argentina’s northern Chaco region were enslaved on a plantation established by European immigrants.

According to court documents, they were malnourished, compensated with vouchers, taxed for the cotton they produced and were mostly restricted freedom of movement. AFP reported that numerous children and old adults died in the atrocity, based on witness accounts.

Those who were wounded and couldn’t flee were slain “in the cruellest way possible,” Judge Zunilda Niremperger added, with mutilations and burials in communal graves. The mass executions had previously been declared a crime against humanity by a federal judge, but no criminal trial had ever been convened because the accused had already died.

However, after a month of hearings, a guilty decision was handed out on Thursday.”The massacre had grave consequences,” Judge Niremperger is quoted in the Buenos Aires Times as saying. “[Those people] suffered the trauma of terror and were uprooted with the loss of their language and culture.

Massacre of Qom and Moqoit Verdict was out this Thursday

Massacre of Qom and Moqoit
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“The judge ordered that the massacre be included in Argentina’s school curriculum, as well as that forensic effort to find the victims’ bodies continue. There were no demands for monetary compensation.

Raquel Esquivel, a descendent of the Qom village, told AFP that it was past time for “original voices to be heard” and “the truth to be shared” in response to the verdict. This is the first trial of its sort in Latin America, according to South America journalist Katy Watson, and it might pave the way for additional cases recognising crimes against indigenous populations across the continent.

After a month of hearings in a so-called “truth trial,” a court in Resistencia issued a decision on Thursday in Spanish as well as the Qom and Moqoit languages. It claimed that the state’s “responsibility” had been demonstrated in “crimes against humanity” committed during an “indigenous genocide.”

Judge Zunilda Niremperger issued an order for “historic restitution,” but not pecuniary compensation. The massacre will be taught in schools, and forensic efforts to uncover the perpetrators will continue.

Including the atrocity in school curricula and ongoing forensic investigations to locate victims’ bodies are among the initiatives. In the year 2020, a memorial was built. Although the plaintiffs did not seek monetary compensation, the ruling could set the stage for legal action in the future.

Raquel Esquivel, a descendant of the Qom, told AFP that it was past time for “original voices to be heard.” It’s critical that the truth be known,” she told AFP by phone from Machagai, a small village 1,000 kilometres north of Buenos Aires near the Napalpi reserve. This was Argentina’s first judicial lawsuit to address indigenous peoples’ persecution.

Many children and the elderly were among the dead, according to survivors’ accounts of the 1924 massacre. The court found that “the wounded who could not flee were executed in the cruellest way possible,” with many being maimed and buried in mass graves.

According to census data, just over a million of Argentina’s 45 million people are members or descendants of the original 39 indigenous groups. Historians claim that immigrants pushed Argentina’s indigenous peoples to the brink of extinction.

Between 1878 and 1885, at least 14,000 indigenous people were slaughtered in the drive to integrate Patagonia with the rest of Argentina, which was known as The Desert Campaign.

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