Economic, social and cultural rights
Peasants continued to be evicted from their land which was then given to landowners for the monoculture of soya bean crops. Indigenous people, women, children and the elderly suffered ill-health, malnutrition and hunger.
In August, former President Alfredo Stroessner died in exile in Brazil. Requests for his extradition were unsuccessful and he was never brought to trial for the many human rights violations committed during his rule, including in the context of Operation Condor, a joint plan by Southern Cone military governments in the 1970s and 1980s to eliminate opponents.
Threats and attacks against journalists
Journalists were subjected to threats and attacks because of their investigative work on politics, drugs and the environment.
In February, Enrique Ramón Galeano, a radio journalist, disappeared after being seen in a police station in Azotey in the city of Horqueta. After receiving death threats, he was placed under police protection in 2005. The prosecutor who had been investigating Enrique Ramón Galeano's whereabouts expressed concern for her own safety.
Prisons were reportedly overcrowded and conditions harsh, sometimes amounting to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. In Tacumbú prison in the capital, Asunción, 40 inmates with mental illness reportedly had no access to medicines or medical care, no mattress or bedding and lived in unsanitary conditions. A prosecutor filed a legal petition for medical assistance on their behalf.
Armed civilian patrols
In July, two community leaders were attacked by members of the Neighbourhood Security Commission (Comisión Vecinal de Seguridad), a government-sponsored armed civilian patrol group, in the city of San José del Norte, San Pedro department. Luis Martínez, who was shot more than 30 times, was killed and Zacarías Vega was wounded. The attack appeared to be linked to the men's work raising awareness of peasants' rights, their campaigning against the excessive use of agricultural pesticides, and their opposition to the use of firearms by civilian patrols in the area. Luis Martínez's family and Daniel Romero, another community leader, and his family received death threats after they pressed for an investigation into the shooting. An official investigation was launched into the shooting, but there was no news of any progress at the end of the year.
UN Special Rapporteur on torture
In November, following a visit to Paraguay, the UN Special Rapporteur on torture criticized severe prison overcrowding and the lack of basic human rights for prisoners, including health care and the provision of clothing, food and mattresses. He also stated that detainees in police stations were widely subjected to torture during the first few days in custody. He expressed concern that torture was not criminalized in the military criminal code and at allegations of beatings and degrading treatment of conscripts. He stressed the need to investigate effectively all suspected cases of torture and bring perpetrators to justice, eradicate corruption, and increase the use of non-custodial measures.
AI country reports/visits
Paraguay: Fear for safety/death threats (AI Index: AMR 45/001/2006)
Paraguay: The search for truth and justice continues (AI Index: AMR 45/002/2006)