|According to survivor accounts, many children and elderly people died in the massacre, AFP reports. And those who were wounded and could not escape were killed "in the cruellest form possible with mutilations and burials in common graves," Judge Zunilda Niremperger said. A woman holds an indigenous Wiphala flag during the trial in Buenos Aires, Argentina on 10 May. (Photo by= Getty Images)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] A landmark criminal trial in Argentina has found the state guilty of the massacre of more than 400 indigenous people nearly a century ago. The Qom and Moqoit communities had been protesting inhumane living and working conditions on a cotton plantation when authorities shot them dead in 1924.
Until now, no responsibility had ever been officially acknowledged. A judge has now ordered historical reparations to be awarded to the communities. The Qom and Moqoit peoples in Argentina's northern Chaco region were living partly enslaved on a plantation settled by immigrant farmers from Europe. They were underfed, paid with vouchers, taxed for the cotton they harvested, and were mostly denied the freedom of movement, the Buenos Aires Times reports, citing court documents.
The reparations ordered by the judge include the massacre being added to Argentina's school syllabus and continuing forensic efforts to find the victims' remains. No financial reparations were sought. According to survivor accounts, many children and elderly people died in the massacre, AFP reports. The BBC's South America correspondent Katy Watson said this is the first trial of its kind in Latin America and could pave the way for more cases that recognize crimes committed against indigenous communities across the region.