CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
objective analysis of the information available to the Commission leads
to the conclusion that a state of affairs exists in the Republic of
Paraguay under which the majority of human rights recognized in the
American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man, and in other
similar instruments, not only are not respected in a manner in keeping
with the international commitments assumed by the country, but also have
become the object of a practice of constant violation.
many denunciations received from within Paraguay itself, information
compiled by international bodies that visited the country, and a great
deal of other data coming from different sources, as well as the silence
of the Paraguayan government in the face of the many observations and
recommendations made to it over the years by the Commission, enable the
latter to conclude that, under the state of siege which has been in
force in Paraguay –in uninterrupted fashion—for more than 30 years,
grave and numerous acts have been committed in violation of fundamental
human rights, and in particular of the following:
The right to life. Well-founded bases exist to conclude
that various individuals have died at the hands of the authorities under
circumstances which have not been properly clarified. Moreover, cases
commonly classified as disappearances, involving individuals who had
been arrested by the authorities and held for indefinite periods in
“unknown” locations, may well constitute instances of violation of
the right to life, although, due to a lack of direct evidence, it may
not be possible to establish properly their occurrence.
The right to security of the person. The use of physical
and psychological duress and of every form of cruelty in order to
extract confession or to intimidate and humiliate detainees is a
constant and continuing practice in Paraguay, as attested to by
denunciations and other information received from widely different
sources. The foregoing is also suggested by the fact that the Paraguayan
authorities impassively receive the transcriptions of such denunciations
which are transmitted to them by the Commission, while allowing the time
limits established for the receipt of replies to lapse, without
commenting on them in any way. In addition to the above, the Commission
must note that no information whatsoever has been received regarding the
application of sanctions against even a single individual responsible
for such inhuman treatment.
The right to personal liberty. As noted in this Report,
the detentions carried out under the state of siege –that is, without
any form of trial or filing of charges—number in the hundreds. Some of
the individuals arbitrarily detained in this manner have spent as much
as 19 years in prison being brought to trial. Indeterminate detention
without charges or trial is aggravated, in many cases, by the holding of
individuals incommunicado for indefinite periods.
to what has been learned, which can be easily ascertained from many
sources, these detentions of individuals representative of different
political tendencies, for indefinite period of time, not only create an
atmosphere of natural anxiety and uncertainty among Paraguayans, but
also contribute to the creation of serious obstacles to the free
development of national life and to a return to the full legal
effectiveness of democratic institutions.
The right to a fair trial. As stated in various passages
of this Report, individuals detained by virtue of the sate of siege do
not enjoy the right to due process of law. They are no brought before a
competent judge within the proper time periods, nor are they allowed or
provided lawyers to safeguard compliance with procedural norms. The
remedies of habeas corpus
or amparo are without any effect in theses cases, as there is no court
or judge that considers himself competent to grant such a remedy.
individuals are as a general rule held in places not suited for such
purposes or in establishments which fail to meet even the minimal
requirements which every prison should satisfy.
from a number of denunciations it has also been established that lawyers
who assume responsibility for defending individuals detained for
political reason and, in general, for cases involving the state of
siege, are frequently the object of threats and acts of intimidation,
including such measures as withholding their license to practice.
The right to freedom of expression and dissemination of ideas.
Regarding this right, the obvious conclusion to be drawn is that in
Paraguay the mass media are free neither to report accurately the news
nor to express their opinions, This is so despite the fact that
publications or broadcast of certain news or commentaries critical of
the Government are occasionally ignored.
The right of assembly and of association. These rights,
established in Articles XXI and XXII of the American Declaration, are
frequently violated and ignored in practice. The Commission has in its
hands sufficient bases for judgment to state that the Paraguayan
Catholic Church and other religious institutions have been the object of
persecution directly affecting their seminaries, schools and
institutions of higher learning, as well as the development of its
social action and assistance programs.
the basis of all of the foregoing, and in fulfillment of its essential
mission, the Commission believes it appropriate to make the following
recommendations to the Government of Paraguay, aimed at rectifying the
anomalies that have been described above and at guaranteeing protection
of human rights in the future:
To adopt the measures necessary to lift the state of siege, in
view of the fact that it has been extended again and again in
uninterrupted fashion over a period of 30 years, as the Commission has
observed in various passages of this Report; or, in the event that
circumstances of grave danger or public calamity make its maintenance
absolutely necessary, to issue without delay in accordance with the
corresponding provisions of the Constitution, the regulatory law called
for in order to establish the indispensable compatibility which must
exist between that institution and permanent respect for fundamental
provisions should establish a procedure under which detentions are
carried out on written orders issued by competent authorities, with a
copy of the same being formally transmitted within a fixed period of
time to a member of the family or an individual indicated by the
detainee. The order of detention should contain all information
necessary to identify with precision the detainee and the individual
taking him into custody, as well as the location where the detention is
to be carried out and the name and authority ordering the measure.
These regulatory provisions should also provide for additional
safeguards, such as a medical examination carried out both upon entry
and upon departure from places of detention. Above all, the full legal
effectiveness of the remedies of habeas corpus and amparo
for all classes of detainees should be reestablished or guarantee by
means of a special law, in view of the fact that under ordinary
procedures these remedies are now considered incompatible with the
institution of special powers.
To release as soon as possible all individuals detained under the
state of siege against whom charges have not been filed; or, should
there be legal cause for such action, to submit them immediately to due
process of law including a fair trial.
take all measures necessary to guarantee, with respect to women who have
given birth in prison or who have been detained with an infant, the
special assistance and consideration which is required which is required
due to their situation and that of their small children.
To adopt administrative and practical measures aimed at ensuring
that any official who commits abuses or uses cruel and inhuman methods
against detainees will be made an example and duly punished.
To take the necessary measures in order to guarantee the proper
protection for lawyers and judges, so that both may properly perform
their special tasks.
To inform the Commission as soon as possible of the measures
adopted in carrying out these recommendations.