N° 98/10




Washington, D.C., September 24, 2010 – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses its deep concern over the discovery of a child pornography ring that operated in Tacumbu National Penitentiary in Paraguay. The IACHR urges the Paraguayan State to adopt the necessary measures to duly investigate these events and to prevent their repetition.


According to the information received, a group of prisoners in the Tacumbu National Penitentiary, the biggest in the country, took minors into the prison and forced them to perform sexual acts that were taped and photographed in one of the cells. The Prosecutor’s Office confiscated the pornographic material. According to the Paraguayan Attorney General’s Office, the interns contacted the minors through the Internet and blackmailed them to force them to go to the penitentiary.


The IACHR emphatically condemns these events and expresses its solidarity with the victims and their families.


The IACHR reiterates that the State is directly responsible for its penitentiaries, and therefore has the fundamental obligation of exercising effective control over them. In this sense, it has the obligation to prevent, investigate and sanction the crimes that are committed both within and from detention centers. The State has special duties in situations like the present one, in which children are affected, in light of its specific obligation to protect them from all forms of exploitation and sexual abuse.


The aforementioned obligations are not incompatible with those of the State of respecting and ensuring the rights of persons deprived of liberty, which stems from its position of guarantor.


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 matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in a personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.


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Press contact: María Isabel Rivero
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