1. Shortly after the start of its work in October 1960, the Commission began to receive communications from a number of sources denouncing repeated violations of human rights in the territory of the Republic of Paraguay. These communications continued to arrive in increasing number, to the point that at its 2nd session, held in April 1961, the Commission, concerned with the turn the situation of human rights in that country was taking, ordered the preparation of a report thereon. This report was presented and taken up at the third session, held at the end of 1961.
Since the violations denounced continued to increase in number
and in gravity, the Commission on a number of occasions considered the
advisability of visiting Paraguay to study the situation and also
ordered preparation of a second report which was presented under the
title of “Informaciones sobre la Situación de los Derechos Humanos en
la República del Paraguay”, and was examined during
the 9th session, held in October 1964.
3. During the following session (March 1965), the Chairman and the Executive Secretary of the Commission were authorized to visit Paraguay for the purpose of conducting a direct examination of the actual situation that had so insistently been denounced by a vast number of communications. With that authorization and having duly obtained the Paraguayan government’s permission, Professor Manuel Bianchi and Dr. Luis Reque, who at that time served as Chairman and Executive Secretary of the Commission, respectively, traveled to Asunción on August 11, 1965.
As a result of this visit, Professor Bianchi presented a Report at the 12th
session (October 1965) that contained the following conclusions:
That the Republic of Paraguay was under a permanent state of
That the human rights proclaimed under the Political Constitution
of the Republic of Paraguay do not appear to be protected by effective
That political proscription continues to be an established
That freedom of the press apparently exists in Paraguay;
That the control exercised by the Government Party (the Colorado
Party) does not make it possible for the opposition parties to
participate freely in the political life of the country.
5. The Report of the Chairman was duly considered by the Commission. In view of the conclusions presented above and bearing in mind that they raised the urgent need for a more in-depth on-site investigation, the Commission authorized Prof. Bianchi to attempt to secure the Paraguayan government’s consent to receive a subcommittee for that purpose. The efforts made in that direction was unsuccessful.
In processing the ever-increasing number of denunciations, the
Commission received neither replies nor cooperation from the Paraguayan
authorities in the majority of cases. Therefore, it had to resort in a
considerable number of cases to the procedure established under Article
51,1 of the Regulations, that is, to presume confirmation of the
events that have been denounced and duly brought to the attention of the
government concerned, if that government has neither confirmed nor
invalidated the denunciations within the period stipulated. There
follows, as examples, a number of the decisions taken in application of
the 30th session (April 1973) the Commission adopted a
whereby, in application of Article 51,1 of its Regulations, it
presumed the illegal arrest of Mr. Antonio Maidana to be confirmed and
requested the Paraguayan government to order his release.
the thirty-first session (October 1973), held in Bogota and Cali,
Colombia, the Commission adopted another resolution
in which, in light of the same Article 51,1, a number of
denunciations of violations of human rights were presumed to be true.
These denunciations covered 87 cases of arbitrary arrest and torture in
resolutions were forwarded to the Government of Paraguay with the
recommendation that the necessary steps be taken to see to it that the
individuals involved be released, that those persons responsible be
punished, and that the Commission be informed with regard to any
measures adopted. The Government of Paraguay has never answered this
in application of the provisions of Article 9 (bis) c of its
Statute and Article 57 of its Regulations, the Commission includes these
resolutions in its annual Report for 1973.
At both its 36th session (October 1975) and its 38th
session (May 1976), held in Washington, the Commission adopted a
In these resolutions, the Commission presumed twelve cases of arbitrary
arrests by the Government of Paraguay to be confirmed.
At its 29th session (October 1976) the Commission
decided to presume the events denounced in Cases 2006 and 2021 to be
true, by virtue of Article 51,1 of its Regulations. These two
cases cover more that fifty individuals who have disappeared, been
illegally arrested or tortured.
At that same session, in the face of numerous denunciations of
serious violations o the most basic human rights, the Commission decided
to prepare a special report on the situation of human rights in
On that same occasion it decided to approach the Paraguayan
government in an effort to secure its permission for a subcommittee to
visit Paraguay in order to complement the information already in the
hands of the Commission on the situation of human rights in Paraguay.
11. Pursuant to a mandate of the Commission, Dr. Andrés Aguilar, Chairman of the IACHR, spoke with Mr. Juan Alberto Llanes, the Alternate Delegate of Paraguay to the OAS, on November 6, 1976. He advised him of the Commission’s decision to prepare a report on the overall situation of human rights in Paraguay to request the Paraguayan Government’s consent for an on-site visit investigation. In connection with the latter point, Mr. Llanes was informed that the Commission had decided to convey this decision on a confidential basis, so as to look into the possibility of an invitation extended by his Government.
At the 40th session (special) the Commission, in view
of the fact that the Government of Paraguay had not responded to the
confidential overture, decided to request formally permission for a
subcommittee of the IACHR to visit Paraguay in order to conduct an
on-site observation of the situation of human rights in that country.
This request was transmitted to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of
Paraguay, Dr. Alberto Nogués, in the following cable of February 4,
COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS, MEETING IN WASHINGTON AT ITS FORTIETH
SESSION (SPECIAL), DECIDED TO REQUEST OF YOUR EXCELLENCY’S GOVERNMENT
PERMISSION FOR A SUBCOMMITTEE OF THIS ORGAN TO VISIT PARAGUAY IN ORDER
TO CONDUCT AN OBSERVATION IN LOCO ON THE SERIOUS AND CONTINUING
ALLEGATIONS OF VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGTHS IN THAT COUNTRY RECEIVED BY
THE COMMISSION. WE MAKE THIS REQUEST IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PROVISSIONS
OF THE LAST PARAGRAPH OF ARTICLE ELEVEN OF THE COMMISSION’S STATUTE.
WE WOULD LIKE APPRECIATE A RESPONSE TO THIS REQUEST FROM YOUR
EXCELLENCY’S GOVERNMENT BEFORE THE TENTH OF THIS MONTH BECAUSE THE
PRESENT SESSION ENDS ON THE ELEVENTH. RESPECTFULLY
In reply to this cable, the Minister of Foreign Affairs sent the
following cable on February 9, 1977:
REFER TO YOUR TELEX OF FEBRUARY 4 IN WHICH YOU REQUEST THE PRESENCE OF A
SUBCOMMITTEE IN PARAGUAYAN TERRITORY TO CONDUCT AND OBSERVATION IN
LOCO “CONCERNING SERIOUS AND CONTINUING ALLEGATIONS OF VIOLATIONS
OF HUMAN RIGHTS” IN MY COUNTRY. FIRST, MR. CHAIRMAN, I WOULD LIKE TO
POINT OUT THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF PARAGUAY DULY RECOGNIZES THE NOBLE WORK
OF THE COMMISSION OVER WHICH YOU EMINENTLY PRESIDE, OF ENCOURAGING
RESPECT FOR HUMAN RIGHTS INOUR HEMISPHERE IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LOFTY
PRINCIPLES EXPRESSLY SET FORTH IN THE CHAPTER OF THE ORGANIZATION. THIS
HAS, OF COURSE, BEEN THE CONSTANT CONCERN OF THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT OF
TRUTH, IN 1958 AND 1959 WE HAD TO CONTAIN AN ARMED INCURSION, TRAINED ON
FIRING RANGES IN A NEIGHBORING COUNTRY, AS PART OF A COMMUNIST ACTION
WHICH IN A NUMBER OF SUBSEQUENT ISOLATED INCIDENTS ATTEMPTED TO DISRUPT
THE PEACE, ORDER AND TRANQUILITY OF THE REPUBLIC. IN THE COURSE OF THESE
LAWLESS ESCAPADES, THE ATTACKING HORDES COMMITTED ALL MANNER OF OUTRAGES
AGAINST DEFENSELESS PEASANTS AND THE REGULAR FORCES OF THE NATIONAL
ARMY. THE MACABRE HANGING OF CADET ALBERTO ANASTASIO BENITES, FOR
EXAMPLE, WAS A MEASURE OF THE SINISTER PURPOSES OF THE CULPRITS. THUS IT
WAS THAT IN DEFENSE OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS OF THE ENTIRE POPULATION OF
PARAGUAY, WHICH WAS SO SERIOUSLY IMPARILED, THE GOVERNMENT, EXCERCISING
ITS LEGITIMATE POWERS, HAD TO ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR DEFENSE BY
ADOPTING THE NECESSARY MEASURES.
PARAGUAY, DESPITE INTENSE MARXIST PROPAGANDA CIRCULATED IN ALL FORMS IN
COMPLICITY WITH A SECTOR OF THE OPPOSITION PARTIES, THERE HAS BEEN NO
REPETITION OF THOSE SHAMFUL EVENTS, WHICH BLEMISH THE PRESTIGE OF THE
AMERICAS. MY COUNTRY LIVES IN A CLIMATE OF FREEDOM AND DEMOCRACY WHERE
THE LEGITIMATELY CONSTITUTED POWERS EXERCISE THEIR INDISPUTABLE
AUTHORITY IN GOOD CONSCIENCE AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE NATIONAL
CONSTITUTION OF 1967, RATIFIED BY ALL DEMOCRATIC POLITICAL PARTIES.
DEFENSE OF THOSE HUMAN RIGHTS CONTINUALLY THREATENED BY THE ENEMIES OF
OUR NATION, THE PUBLIC AUTHORITY APPLIES THOSE PRECEPTS THAT EMPOWER IT
TO MAINTAIN LAW AND ORDER. I AM AIDED BY THE CONVICTION THAT ALL THE
DENUNCIATIONS RECEIVED BY THE COMMISSIONS OF WHICH YOU ARE CHAIRMAN ARE
BASED ON ERRONEOUS INFORMATION OR ON A DECEITFUL ATTEMPT TO DO INJURY TO
MY COUNTRY’S NAME.
THAT REASON, MR. CHAIRMAN, IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE PERTINENT PROVISIONS
OF THE CHAPTER, OF THE AMERICAN DECLARATION OF THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF
MAN, AND OF THE STATUTE AND REGULATIONS OF THE COMMISSION OVER WHICH YOU
PRESIDE, THE GOVERNMENT OF MY COUNTRY IS READY TO PROVIDE SUCH
INFORMATION AS IS DEEMED NECESSARY TO DEMOSTRTE THAT THE ACCUSATIONS
DIRECTED AGAINST PARAGUAY IN THE AREA OF HUMAN RIGHTS ARE TOTALLY FALSE,
WITH THE UNDERSTANDING THAT, AS STATED IN ARTICLE 10 OF THE STATUTE,
“THE RIGHTS OF EACH MAN ARE LIMITED BY THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS, BY THE
SECURITY OF ALL, AND BY THE JUST DEMANDS OF THE GENERAL WELFARE AND THE
ADVANCEMENT OF DEMOCRACY”.
TRUTH IS, MR. CHAIRMAN, THAT PARAGUAYANS LIVE UNDER THE RULE OF LAW,
PROTECTED BY LAW AND BY AUTHORITY, WITH A MODERN CONSTITUION, WITH THE
FREE PARTICIPATION OF NONMARXIST POLITICAL PARTIES, FREEDOM TO EXPRESS
IDEAS AND BELIFIES, FREEDOM OF COMUNICATION, FREEDOM OF PRIVE
ENTERPRISE, AND A SURE AWARENESS OF DIGNITY AND NATIONAL INDEPENDENCE.
POLITICAL PARTY, LA ASOCIACION NACIONAL REPUBLICANA PARTIDO COLORADO,
LENDS BROAD SUPPORT TO THIS PATRIOTIC EFFORT AND IS BY AN OVERWHELMING
MAJORITY AND WITH A CLEAR CIVIC AWARENESS THE UNDENIABLE VOICE OF THE
THESE REMARKS I CAN OFFER YOU THE ASSURANCE THAT MY COUNTRY, PARAGUAY,
HONORS ITS COMMINTMENT TO UPHOLD THE GENERAL WELL-BEING AND DEMOCRATIC
DEVELOPMENT IN THE POSITION IT HAS THE HONOR TO HOLD AMONG THE AMERICAN
EXCELLENCY, THE RENEWED ASSURANCES OF MY HIGHEST CONSIDERATION.
OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
THE REPUBLIC OF PARAGUAY
Since the permission requested was neither granted nor expressly
denied in this communications, the Commission sent another cable to the
Foreign Minister on February 11, 1977:
COMMISSION THANKS HIS EXCELLENCY FOR THE CABLE OF FEBRUARY 9 WHEREBY YOU
RESPOND, WITHIN THE ESTABLISHED PERIOD, TO OUR COMMUNICATIONS OF
FEBRUARY 4. AS WE UNDERSTAND IT, THE GOVERNMENT OF PARAGUAY HAS DECIDED
NOT TO GRANT THE PERMISSION REQUESTED IN OUR CABLE OF FEBRUARY 4.
HOWEVER, PROMTED BY THE PRAISE FOR THE WORK OF THE COMMISSION AND BY THE
STATEMENT TO THE EFFECT THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF PARAGUAY IS WILLING TO
PROVIDE SUCH INFORMATION AS IS DEEMED APPROPRIATE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH
THE PERTINENT PROVISIONS OF THE CHARTER, OF THE AMERICAN DECLARATION OF
THE RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF MAN, AND OF THE STATUTE AND REGULATION OF THIS
COMMISSION, WE HAVE DECIDED TO REQUEST YOUR EXCELLENCY’S GOVERNEMENT
THAT IT KINDLY INFORM US BY CABLE WHETHER THE COOPERATION BEING OFFERED
IN THESE TERMS WOULD OR WOULD NOT PERMIT THE OBSERVATION IN LOCO
FOR WHICH PERMISSION WAS REQUESTED IN OUR CABLE OF FEBRUARY 4.
BEHALF OF THE COMMISSION AND IN MY OWN BEHALF AS WELL, ACCEPT,
EXCELLENCY, THE RENEWED ASSURANCES OF MY HIGHEST CONSIDERATION.
15. In response to this communication, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Paraguay sent the following cable, dated February 18, 1977 to the Chairman of the Commission:
REFERENCE OT YOUR CABLE OF FEBRUARY ELEVEN, IT IS MY DUTY TO INFORM YOU
THAT THE ALTERNATE REPRESENTATIVE, MR. JUAN ALBERTO LLANES, WHO RETURNED
YESTERDAY TO WASHINGTON, IS CARRYING INSTRUCTIONS IN THIS REGARD.
OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
On March 18, 1977, Mr. Llanes, the Alternate Delegate of Paraguay
to the OAS, visited the Commission’s offices for the purpose of
carrying out the instructions referred to in the cable of February 18.
These statements were put in written form by the Secretariat of the
Commission in an Aide-Memoire, which was then forwarded to Mr.
Llanes, who made certain changes in it. There follows the text of that Aide-Memoire,
Llanes spoke with two officials of the IACHR Secretariat, Dr. Charles
Moyer and Dr. Juan Roberto Eskenasy, and informed them that the
Government of Paraguay is willing to cooperate with the work of the
Commission and that the cable of February 9 should not be taken as a
denial rejection of the request for permission for the on-site
investigation. He said that for reasons of domestic politics, and
official visit by the IACHR is not at present advisable, but that the
possibility of a visit might be considered on some future occasion at
the initiative of the Government of Paraguay.
nevertheless felt that a visit of this kind is not the sole means by
which to obtain valid information, when the Government itself states
that it is willing to provide such information as is deemed necessary to
demonstrate that the accusations directed against Paraguay in the area
of human rights are utterly false.
Acting Representative stated that the Paraguayan government’s interest
in cooperating with the Commission can be seen in the cable of February
9 where it is pointed out that the Government ‘duly recognizes the
noble work of the Commission of encouraging respect for human rights in
our hemisphere and this has of course been the constant concern of the
present Government of Paraguay.
he asked that he be given the case or cases regarding which his
Government had been asked to provide information, in order to ensure a
proper response to these requests.
At its 41st session (May 1977), the Commission
approved the report on the situation of human rights in Paraguay,
preparation of which had been agreed upon at its 39th
session. That report was forwarded to the Government of Paraguay on June
6. In a note dated August 9, 1977, the Government of Paraguay
transmitted its observations on that report to the Commission.
On September 11, 1977, the Permanent Representative of Paraguay
to the OAS, Dr. Mario López Escobar, sent the following communication:
I have the honor to present, with the request that it be forwarded to the addressee, the text of the telegram which the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Paraguay, Dr. ALBERTO NOGUES, sent today through this permanent Mission to Dr. ANDRES AGUILAR, Chairman of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which reads as follows:
of the Inter-American Commission
Human Rights of the Organization of
August 10 of this year I had the honor to hand over personally to Your
Excellency a document containing the observations of the Government of
my country to the ‘Report on the Situation of Human Rights in
Paraguay’, prepared by the Commission over which you eminently
that occasion I told Your Excellency that the Paraguayan Government,
taking into consideration basic questions involving its own Foreign
policy on the one hand, and in additions, the fact that the country was
preparing general elections, preferred that the Commission’s visit for
which permission had been requested on February 4th of this
year, not take place.
up my note of August 9, I would like to reiterate, Mr. Chairman, that I
am convinced that when the Commission studies our ‘observations’ it
will no longer consider its visit to Paraguay necessary. Nevertheless,
should the Commission not share this opinion, which we feel is in order,
the Paraguayan government is willing to receive your visit on a date to
be determined by common agreetment.
Excellency, the renewed assurances of highest consideration.
of Foreign Affairs of Paraguay.
hereto, I am enclosing the original of the cable quoted above, which
this Permanent Mission received today, September 12, 1977.
Excellency, the renewed assurances of my highest consideration.
In light of this communication and after a detailed study of the
observations made by the Government of Paraguay, at its 42nd
session (October-November 1977), the Commission ratified its decision to
conduct an on-site investigation in that country and, pursuant to a
mandate of the IACHR, the Chairman of the Commission sent the Minister
of Foreign Affairs of Paraguay the following letter, dated November 8:
have the honor to acknowledge receipt our Your Excellency’s note of
September 12, wherein, after making reference to the transmittal of the
document containing the observations made by the Government of your
country to the “Report of the Commission on the Situation of Human
Rights in Paraguay”, you add that the Paraguayan government is willing
to receive a visit by the Commission, should the latter still consider
such a visit necessary, on mutually convenient date.
reply, I would like to inform Your Excellency that the Commission while
recognizing that the explanations and data provided by that document
have been useful and helpful in carrying out its delicate tasks, it is
of the unanimous opinion that the planned visit would be the best means
by which to form a direct and objective opinion on the matters that is
has under study. Therefore, it plans to conduct such a visit, taking
advantage of the positive attitude which, through Your Excellency, the
Commission has been shown.
before, the close of the Commission’s present session, I shall have
the pleasure of contacting the Representative of Paraguay to the
Organization of American States regarding the details of the visit, the
schedule of activities that the Commission will conduct during that
visit, and the facilities and cooperation that the Commission hopes to
receive from Paraguayan authorities in order to carry out those
behalf of the Commission, I would like to thank Your Excellency for the
valued cooperation that Paraguay has been so kind as to provide to the
Commission. Please accept, Excellency, the renewed assurances of my
20. Despite repeated attempts since that time to contact official Paraguayan representatives both by the Chairman of the Commission, Dr. Andrés Aguilar, and by the Executive Secretary of the Commission, Dr. Edmundo Vargas Carreño, in an effort to determine the date and the details of the visit to Paraguay, the Commission has not yet received a concrete reply from the authorities that would enable it to establish a definitive program for the visit.
In view of this situation and the time that has elapsed since the
date on which these efforts were initiated, the Commission, pursuant to
a decision adopted at its 553rd meeting (42nd
session), held on November 11, 1977, has updated this report on the
situation of human rights in Paraguay as of December 31, 1977, taking
into account, among other factors, the observations received from the
Paraguayan government, and will submit it to the competent organs of the
Organization for consideration.
This report follows the same format used in other reports of the
Commission. It has been divided into separate chapters, following the
order in which the various human rights appear in the American
Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. The pertinent article of
the Declaration has been included at the beginning of each chapter,
while the corresponding article of the American Convention on Human
Rights has been included in a footnote at the bottom of the page. The
Convention, signed in San José, Costa Rica, on November 22, 1969, by
Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras,
Nicaragua, Panamá, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela, will enter into
force as soon as eleven states have deposited their respective
instruments of ratification or accession. Those rights with regard to
which the Commission has not received denunciations meriting special
consideration have been omitted.
Therefore, this study begins with a chapter outlining those norms
of the Paraguayan legal system available to the Commission, insofar as
they relate to the enforcement and protection of human rights.
OEA/Ser.L/V/II.10, doc. 2, 8 de septiembre de 1964. This
document is a summary of the major political events that took place
in Paraguay between 1960 and 1964. It also contains a brief analysis
of the Constitution of 1940, with particular reference to the
guarantees recognized in the area of human rights, and an account of
the denunciations of violations of human rights in Paraguay received
by the Commission.
Misión a la República del Paraguay, Informe del Presidente de la
Comisión Interamericana de Derechos Humanos sobre su visita a la
República del Paraguay. OEA/Ser.L/V/II.13, doc 5, 30 de septiembre
Resolution on Case 1741 (Paraguay), OEA/Ser.L/V/II.30, doc. 40, rev.
1, 27 April 1973. See Chapter III of this Report.
Resolution on Cases 1758, 1759, 172 and 1763 (Paraguay).
OEA/Ser.L/V/II.31, doc. 42, rev. 1, 23 October 1973. See Chapters
III and IV of this Report.
OEA/Ser.P/AG/doc. 409/74, 5 March 1974.
Resolution on Case 1843
(Paraguay), OEA/Ser/L/V/II.36, doc. 29, rev. 1, 16 October 1975. See
Chapter III of this Report. Resolution on Case 1988 (Paraguay).
OEA/Ser.L/V/II.38, doc. 20, 2 June 1976. See Chapter III and IV of
Resolution on Case 2006 (Paraguay), OEA/Ser.L/V/II.41, doc. 10, 13
May 1977. See chapters III and IV of this Report. Resolution on Case
2021 (Paraguay), OEA/Ser.L/V/II.41, doc. 8, 12 May 1977. See
Chapters II, III and IV of this Report.
It should be pointed out that the Commission has received
denunciations with regard to the treatment of the Indians of the
“Aché” Tribe. This is a small community that has managed to
maintain its traditional life-style and is therefore described as
today being a distinctive cultural group within Paraguay. The
denunciations allege that the Government of Paraguay has knowingly
tolerated serious abuses of that tribe to the point where its
survival as a group has been jeopardized. The Commission is devoting
proper attention to this matter, with which it has already concerned
itself, and will make known its position and decision on the matter
at some future date.