Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) prepared a Special Report on
the Status of Human Rights in Paraguay in 1978.
As noted in that report in the section on background, after repeated efforts by
the Commission the oft requested permission to visit the country was received
from the government. The message
came at the end of a telegram from the then Minister of Foreign Affairs of
Paraguay, Dr. Alberto Nogues, to Dr. Andrés Aguilar, Chairman of the
Commission. It announced that
“the Paraguayan Government is willing to receive your visit on a date to be
set by mutual consent.”
IACHR was nevertheless obliged to draft and publish its report without the
proposed on-site inspection, since the Paraguayan authorities never got around
to setting a date for the visit. Even
now, ten years later, the Government of Paraguay has yet to name the day.
the report cited, the IACHR concluded that in the Republic of Paraguay the great
majority of the rights recognized by the “American Declaration of the Rights
and Duties of Man” and other instruments of the same nature not only were not
respected in accordance with the international commitments assumed by that
country, but that their violation had become common practice.
that time, the Commission specifically cited violations of the right to life, to
personal freedom, to justice, to free speech and expression of opinions and the
rights of assembly and association.
report in question was submitted to the eighth regular session of the OAS
General Assembly, held June 21-July 1, 1978.
The General Assembly agreed in its Resolution 370 (VIII-O/78):
its ninth regular session, held in La Paz, Bolivia, October 22-31, 1979, the OAS
also approved another resolution (AG/RES. 443), stating that it had taken note
of the Annual Report of the IACHR for 1978.
operative paragraphs of the aforementioned resolution AG/RES. 443 included the
on the provisions of the operating paragraph 6 of Resolution AG/RES. 443, at its
49th session the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights again addressed the
proposed on site observation in Paraguay and agreed on April 1, 1980 to
send a cable to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Paraguay, requesting that he
set a specific date for the observation visit agreed upon.
The IACHR also resolved at that time that in the event that the
Government did not respond affirmatively, a note would be sent to the OAS
Secretary General, apprising him of the situation so that he could bring it to
the attention of the Permanent Council of the Organization’s General Assembly.
text of the cable sent to the Minister is produced below:
of Foreign Relations
Excellency, the assurances of my highest consideration.
Luis Demetrio Tinoco Castro
On April 28, 1980, the Commission received the following reply from the Government of Paraguay:
of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Secretariat, Organization of American States
accept the assurances of my highest consideration.
of Foreign Relations of Paraguay
Pursuant to its decision at its 49th regular meeting, the Commission addressed the OAS Secretary General on May 28, 1980 to apprise him of the step it had taken and the result thereof. At the same time, the committee agreed to continue observing the development of human rights in Paraguay.
The IACHR thus continued to process the complaints received in respect to individual cases, to examine the data sent to it on the observance of human rights and to consider the general status thereof in the country. The Commission’s annual reports included the results obtained in individual cases and those of its analysis of the general status of human rights in Paraguay, on which it reported to the OAS General Assembly at the body’s regular sessions. At the same time, the Commission continued its efforts with the Paraguayan authorities to have a date set for its proposed on site observation visit to the country.
April 1986, at its 67th regular session, the Inter-American Commission of Human
Rights agreed to prepare a special report on the general situation of human
rights in Paraguay and to repeat its request for the Government’s permission
to carry out its proposed in loco visit.
to that decision, the Chairman of the Commission sent the following note to the
Government of Paraguay on April 17, 1986:
Carlos Augusto Saldívar
of Foreign Relations
order for that report to convey the realities of Paraguay as faithfully and
objectively as possible, and encouraged by the recent decisions of Your
Excellency’s Government to allow various government and nongovernmental
organizations to visit Paraguay, the Commission has deemed it advisable to
request the permission of your Government for a visit in loco to the
country, on a specific date at the earliest possible time, but in any case prior
to the end of the present year.
would be grateful for an early reply. In
the meantime, please accept, Excellency, the renewed assurance of my highest
Luis Adolfo Siles
During its 68the regular session in September 1986, the Commission reaffirmed to the Government in the last paragraph of its 1984-85 annual report the commitment it had assumed in September 1977, which had remained pending since that time, insisting that a specific date had to be set for the on site observation. It underscored the idea that:
other attitude on the part of the Paraguayan Government would indicate that it
was not willing to respect the commitment it had accepted.
The Chairmen of the Commission, Drs. Luis Adolfo Siles Salinas and Gilda M.C.M. de Russomano met in the course of 1986 and 1987 with Foreign Minister Dr Carlos Augusto Saldívar, again emphasizing the expediency of inviting the Commission to visit the country. This was prior to the publication of the present report.
the interview between the Chairwoman and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the
Minister gave her a note dated June 2, 1987, in which the Paraguayan Government
apprised the Commission of its decision not to set a date for the visit.
One of the reasons adduced for such refusal was that the Government of
Paraguay gives priority to its relations with the United Nations Commission on
Human Rights, and had acceded to the visit of a special rapporteur who had
already visited Paraguay. According to the Government, assent to the visit of the
Commission would have created an undesirable and dangerous duality.
Another argument was the short deadline set by the Commission for the
visit to be authorized. The complete text of the missive from the Government of
Paraguay, together with the Commission’s reply, may be found in the Annex to
its reply, the Commission refutes the reasons adduced by the Government of
Paraguay, stating that the “duality” of procedures has never been an
obstacle to the Commission’s consideration of human rights in OAS member
countries. The Commission points
that there is no provision, either in the United Nations Charter or in that of
the OAS, that can be interpreted as conferring such priority or incompatibility;
on the contrary, both organizations have consistently recognized the possibility
that parallel procedures can exist. As
for the shortness of deadlines, the Commission noted that this argument could
not be sustained given the ten-year lapse since the Government of Paraguay had
agreed to accept the visit, and the repeated requests to that effect submitted
by the Commission and even by the General Secretariat of the OAS.
In light of the inconsistency of the arguments adduced by the Government,
the Commission concludes that such refusal by the Government of Paraguay raises
new obstacles to the Commission’s compliance with its mandate.
the Government of Paraguay has not issued its authorization, and violations of
the rights recognized in the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of
Man have continued during the period covered by this report, the Inter-American
Commission on Human Rights has decided to issue the present report, which was
approved provisionally in accordance with its Rules of Procedure and sent to the
Government on July 6, 1987.
September 9, 1987, the Commission received the observations of the Government of
Paraguay on the provisional report, and after a careful analysis, proceeded to
make the changes it deemed appropriate. On
September 23, following its deliberation, the Commission adopted this definitive
The present report of the Situation of Human Rights in Paraguay covers the period from December 31, 1977–the date when the last special report prepared by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in that country was updated–until June 26, 1987, the date when the IACHR tentatively approved this new special report during its 70th regular session.
successive chapters address the following rights: the right to life, safety and integrity of the individual; to
due process of law and protection from arbitrary arrest; the right to freedom of
thought and expression; the right to freedom of movement and residence; labor
rights and finally, political rights. The
report ends by setting forth the conclusions reached by the Commission and the
recommendation that the status of human rights in Paraguay be addressed by the
government of that country.
of those chapters presents the principal violations of which the Commission was
apprised in the period covered by the present report. Each chapter starts with the transcription of the
corresponding article from the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of
Man, an instrument that is applicable to Paraguay, which has failed to ratify
the American Convention on Human Rights.
prepare the present report, the Commission had recourse to the laws and the
jurisprudence of Paraguay’s courts. Special
consideration was given to the claims it has received and to the Government’s
responses thereto. The Commission
has also utilized information published in the Paraguayan and foreign press
media. Finally, preparation of the
report made use of the abundant documentation received directly by the
Commission or remitted to it by human rights organizations, both Paraguayan and
The Commission once again regrets the obstacles raised by the Government of Paraguay to prevent the on site inspection visit to ascertain the status of human rights in that country. Those obstacles, however, have not prevented the Commission from performing its duty and preparing this report on the Status of Human Rights in Paraguay for the period 1979 to 1987.