IACHR

Press Release

IACHR Wraps Up Visit to Paraguay

June 11, 2015

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María Isabel Rivero
IACHR Press and Communication Director
Tel: +1 (202) 370-9001
mrivero@oas.org

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Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) carried out a working visit to Paraguay on May 19-22, 2015. The visit aimed to compile information for the preparation of the Commission’s first thematic report on human rights and poverty, as well as to observe the general human rights situation in the country. This was the first in a series of visits the Commission will conduct to countries in the region to gather information for the thematic report.

The visit was carried out by Commissioner Paulo Vannuchi, who is in charge of the IACHR Unit on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and is the IACHR Rapporteur for Paraguay. He was accompanied by Norma Colledani and Karin Mansel, specialists from the IACHR Executive Secretariat. The delegation held meetings with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Justice, and Public Health and Social Welfare; Public Works and Communications; the Secretariat for Social Action; the Secretariat of the Environment and the Civil and Social Cabinets; and the Technical Secretariat for Economic and Social Development Planning of the Office of the Presidency of the Republic. Meetings were also held with representatives of a number of civil society organizations: CODEHUPY, Decidamos, Tierraviva, Federación Nacional Campesina, Centro de Documentación y Estudios, Coordinadora por los Derechos de la Infancia y Adolscencia, Coordinación de Mujeres del Paraguay, Aireana, Asociación Panambí, Asociación Latinoamericana de Medicina Social de Paraguay, Sobrevivencia, Amigos de la Tierra Paraguay, Serpaj-Py, and Tape’a.

The IACHR received detailed information concerning a series of recent initiatives the State is reportedly implementing to reduce poverty and extreme poverty in Paraguay, such as Tekoporã, Abrazo and others. It also took note of civil society organizations’ statements indicating that deeper structural changes are still needed to bring this about.

The delegation traveled to Curuguaty, in the department of Canindeyú, where it was able to observe the situation concerning the economic, social, and cultural rights of peasants in the region, particularly the lack of medical personnel, medicine, and proper infrastructure at the local health center; the difficulty of access to sources of employment; and the market for selling agricultural products.

The delegation also observed the site where the violent incidents of June 2012 took place, in the presence of some of the family members of the peasants who died in those events. The delegation also met with some of the family members of the police officers who died in the same events, as well as with one of the policemen injured. The delegation met with the Attorney General who, among other relevant issues, reported that there will be an oral and public trial of those accused in the deaths of the six police officers in Curuguaty. He also indicated that investigations had been opened as a result of complaints lodged by peasants alleging instances of torture and extrajudicial executions, without going into detail as to the specific progress made in these investigations. The Commission takes note of the announcement and reiterates that the State has the obligation to promote and encourage investigations to clear up the totality of the facts, prosecute those responsible, and establish the applicable criminal penalties, as well as facilitate other means of reparation that may apply.

In addition, the delegation visited the eco-friendly neighborhood of Las Colinas, in the city of Itaguá, where it learned about a government program to build low-income housing, with financial support from the company Itaipú Binacional. The delegation also visited Bañado Norte, in Asunción, where it was able to see the dire conditions of poverty in which its inhabitants live, with no access to basic city services or sanitation. The Commission expresses its concern regarding the fragility of residents’ right to adequate housing and, in particular, regarding the consequences of frequent flooding and plans for nearby infrastructure. The IACHR also welcomes the information it received indicating that Pope Francis, who has announced a trip to Uruguay, may visit this community and see the extreme poverty with his own eyes.

The delegation also had the opportunity to receive information from leaders of the Y’apó indigenous community of Corpus Christi, accompanied by the organization Coordinación Nacional de Pastoral Indígena (CONAPI), who reported on their serious situation with regard to access to food, housing, and health care. The delegation also met with leaders of the Ayoreo Totobiegosode indigenous community and its representatives.

The Commission would like to thank the State of Paraguay for its openness and cooperation in the organization of this visit. It also thanks CODEHUPY for its help in coordinating the meetings with civil society organizations.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

 

* This is a corrected version of the press release originally issued. The correction was made on the same date that it was issued.

No. 066/15