Amnesty International Report 2005 - Paraguay
|Publication Date||25 May 2005|
|Cite as||Amnesty International, Amnesty International Report 2005 - Paraguay , 25 May 2005, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/429b27f311.html [accessed 4 December 2013]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Covering events from January - December 2004
Members of peasant farmers' organizations and indigenous groups were subjected to human rights violations in the context of disputes over land and social issues. There were continued reports of the torture and ill-treatment of army conscripts. The Truth and Justice Commission, which will document past human rights violations, was established.
There was an increase in crime, including a wave of kidnappings, which led to some political sectors calling for the reintroduction of the death penalty.
More than 40 per cent of the rural population was reported to live in poverty. There were frequent protests over land reform and other socio-economic issues. Negotiations between peasant farmers' organizations and the authorities to resolve the land issue broke down in September. Subsequently, peasant leaders called for renewed protests and land invasions.
In September, parliament considered a constitutional amendment to make military service voluntary rather than obligatory.
Violence over land disputes
Members of peasant farmers' organizations and indigenous groups were reportedly subjected to attacks, death threats and harassment by armed civilians working for landowners or private companies. Two indigenous leaders were killed in unclear circumstances.
- In August scores of indigenous Enxet people living in the community of Puerto Colón, Department of Presidente Hayes, were forcibly evicted from their ancestral land by a private company. In October the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights ordered the government to protect the Enxet people and to allow them to return to their land while it examined the case.
Past human rights violations
In July, an Argentine court issued an international warrant for the arrest of former President Alfredo Stroessner for his alleged involvement in human rights violations committed under "Operation Cóndor", a joint plan by military governments in South America to eliminate opponents during the 1970s and 1980s. Alfredo Stroessner, living in exile in Brazil, was also wanted by the Paraguayan courts in connection with "disappearances" and other human rights violations committed under his rule (1954-1989).
Former General Lino Oviedo was arrested on his voluntary return to the country in June and taken to a military prison. He had been sentenced to 10 years' imprisonment in 1998 for his part in a 1996 coup attempt and faced three further criminal charges. Two of these related to his alleged involvement in the murder of Vice-President Luis María Argaña in 1999. There was concern that the investigations into these charges were being conducted under military jurisdiction that would not guarantee him a fair trial.
Truth and Justice Commission
The Truth and Justice Commission, created in 2003 to examine human rights violations committed between 1954 and 2004, was established in August. However, there were doubts about its ability to function after parliament more than halved the requested budget.
Torture and ill-treatment of conscripts
There were continued reports of torture and ill-treatment of conscripts. Little progress was made in investigating the deaths of more than 100 conscripts who had died since 1989.
- In February, 20-year-old Miguel Angel Quintana Sánchez lodged an official complaint with the parliamentary Human Rights Commission alleging that he had been repeatedly beaten and threatened while doing military service.
Inter-American Court of Human Rights
In September, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ordered Paraguay to pay damages in two human rights cases. One related to a fire at the Panchito López juvenile detention centre in 2000 in which 12 inmates died. The other was the case of former presidential candidate Ricardo Canese who was accused of defaming his opponent Juan Carlos Wasmosy during the 1993 election. The Court ruled that his freedom of expression had been violated.