Annual Report: Paraguay 2010

Report
May 28, 2010

Annual Report: Paraguay 2010

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A UN study published in March highlighted the widespread violation of labour rights suffered by Indigenous Peoples in the Chaco region, and the continued use of forced and child labour on ranches.

Land disputes

Campesino groups continued to demand a land reform process that would address their needs. Some groups carried out demonstrations, road blocks and occupations in support of their demands. A number of people were killed or injured in the context of land disputes and during law enforcement activities.

  • In May, the body of 30-year-old campesino leader Enrique Brítez Irala was found hanging from a tree in the La Fortuna Agroganadera in the Jejuí colony, Choré district, San Pedro department. He had been involved in a dispute with a local landowner. Campesino groups reported that Enriquez Brítez Irala, who went missing three days before his body was found, had been tortured and claimed suggestions he had committed suicide were false. Investigations were under way at the end of the year.

Police and security forces

Police officers were accused of injuring dozens of people during a raid on a campesino encampment in the Toro Blanco neighbourhood of Caaguazú. The officers were looking for those suspected of involvement in an assault on nearby commercial premises in July. Around 50 people were subsequently detained and charged with resisting arrest and public order offences. They were awaiting trial at the end of the year.

Impunity

Some significant progress was made in bringing to justice some high-profile perpetrators of human rights abuses during the military government of General Alfredo Stroessner (1954-1989). By the end of 2009, some 13,700 applications for reparations had been made to the Ombudsman after modifications to legislation on compensation were made in 2008. In October, the Defence Minister authorized the unsealing of files dating from the military regime, giving human rights activists investigating human rights violations during this period access to this information for the first time.

  • In May, Sabino Augusto Montanaro, Interior Minister between 1968 and 1989, was arrested after voluntarily returning to Paraguay from exile in Honduras. He faced trial for a series of human rights violations including crimes allegedly committed as part of Operation Condor, a joint plan by Southern Cone military governments in the 1970s and 1980s to eliminate opponents.
  • In August, a judge ordered the extradition of Norberto Bianco, an army doctor at the Campo de Mayo military hospital, to Argentina to face trial for his alleged role in the illegal detention of more than 30 women and the subsequent appropriation of their children in 1977 and 1978. He was awaiting extradition at the end of the year. 258
  • In June, former diplomat Francisco Ortiz Téllez was arrested in connection with the enforced disappearance of Agustín Goiburú, a leading opponent of the Stroessner government, in 1977. Francisco Ortiz Téllez was under house arrest at the end of the year awaiting the outcome of his appeal.

Amnesty International visit/report

Amnesty International delegates visited Paraguay in March and met with President Lugo and other officials.

"We're only asking for what is ours" - Indigenous Peoples in Paraguay (31 March 2009)