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Paraguay 2023

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned the state’s use of torture. There were reports of illegal use of force, arbitrary detentions, and criminalization of social protest after the general elections. Indigenous and peasant communities were affected by forced evictions and exposure to toxic substances. The judiciary rejected the name recognition claims of six transgender people. Sexual abuse of children and adolescents and forced pregnancies of girls remained a great concern, as did violence against women.


Paraguay and Brazil began revising the Itaipú Treaty, 50 years after it was signed. Negotiations concerning the sale of energy produced by hydroelectric installations on the Paraná River did not include participatory mechanisms.

In April, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that the state had complied with its judgment in the case of Ríos Ávalos and Others v. Paraguay, concerning violations of judicial independence following the removal from office of two Supreme Court Justices in 2003.

Freedom of expression and assembly

Restrictions on freedom of expression and assembly persisted. The National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture reported arbitrary detentions, unlawful use of force, and torture against demonstrators participating in post-election protests in May. In June, a 22-year-old protester, Rigoberto Luis Duarte Ríos, died after being shot in the head.

In February, Alexander Álvarez Ramírez, producer and host of a radio programme in the city of Pedro Juan Caballero, was murdered. His death was considered to be related to his work as a broadcaster, but no information had been released about the investigation by the end of the year.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Impunity for torture and other ill-treatment persisted. In May, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights condemned the state for the arbitrary detention and torture suffered by Jorge Luis López Sosa in 2000. The court ordered financial compensation and the implementation of a training programme on the prohibition, prevention and investigation of torture.

Miguel Ángel Correa, a victim of arbitrary detention and torture in the context of the Curuguaty massacre – a forced eviction in 2012 that ended in a shootout leaving 17 dead, including six policemen – submitted a communication to the UN Committee against Torture, denouncing the Paraguayan state for the inaction of the Public Prosecutor’s Office in charging the alleged perpetrators.

The Public Prosecutor’s Office reported no progress in identifying those responsible for the torture and other ill-treatment of 35 people at the Ciudad del Este naval base in 2020.

Economic, social and cultural rights

There were persistent complaints and legal actions by patients, particularly oncology patients, due to insufficient resources in the public health system.

Despite having been created by law, there was no progress in the constitution of a commission to analyse legal means for the restitution of more than 8 million hectares of land destined for agrarian reform and illegally awarded during the military regime to its supporters. The reform would grant thousands of people the right to an adequate standard of living, including adequate food.

Forced evictions of peasant and Indigenous communities continued. The Paraguayan Human Rights Coordinating Committee reported that the 15 de Enero Avá Guaraní Indigenous community, located in the department of Caaguazú, had been evicted leaving 20 families, including 41 young children, homeless and living on the roadside and vulnerable to other human rights violations.

In June, a law was passed allowing the transfer of Marina Kue lands to their peasant occupants who had been claiming their land titles for decades. Despite the restitution, 11 years after the 2012 Curuguaty massacre, families of victims were still awaiting justice (see above, Torture and other ill-treatment).

Indigenous Peoples’ rights

The National Plan for the Rights of Indigenous Peoples continued to lack adequate finance, which hindered its implementation.

The Tekoha Sauce Indigenous community of the Avá Guaraní Paranaense people were still waiting for the restitution of their ancestral territory, which had been seized by hydroelectric power company Itaipú Binacional, violating their rights as Indigenous Peoples. The company appealed a court decision that rejected an eviction order to remove the community from another area of their ancestral land.

In July, non-state armed groups invaded and forcibly settled in Tekoha Guasu Yvy Pyte territory, which is considered sacred territory of the Pai Tavyterã Indigenous People. Indigenous community leaders had denounced illegal logging and death threats in January.

LGBTI people’s rights

Discrimination and profuse advocacy of hatred against LGBTI people persisted with impunity. The judiciary rejected five lawsuits filed by transgender people demanding legal recognition of their names in accordance with their gender identity. In September, an appeals court overturned the first decision recognizing the change of identity of Mariana Sepúlveda, a transgender woman who sued for such recognition in 2016.

The criminal investigation into the physical aggression suffered in 2019 by LGBTI people during a march in the city of Hernandarias continued without progress. The Supreme Court had not resolved an action of unconstitutionality filed by Amnesty International and the organization Diversxs Alto Paraná in 2019 against the prohibition of the march.

Children’s rights

Children’s rights continued to be violated. The Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare registered 8,900 births by adolescent girls aged between 15 and 19 years, of which 593 were Indigenous, and 326 births by younger girls aged 10-14 years, of which 85 were Indigenous.

Women’s rights

The Ministry of Women registered 45 femicides and 42 attempted femicides in 2023. In some cases, the victims had previously reported their aggressors and judicial protection measures were in place.

Congress discussed a draft law to eliminate the adoption of a gender perspective in public policies, including education.1

In September, the Senate approved a bill that declared a social emergency in the face of violence against women, children and adolescents. The bill established a series of measures for education, institutional communication and the training of public servants, aimed at promoting change in the sociocultural patterns that sustain gender inequality. The measures will remain in force for five years, but the bill did not include budget allocations to finance them.

Right to a healthy environment

A UN Special Rapporteur noted that peasant communities and Indigenous Peoples faced an alarming level of exposure to toxic substances due to the uncontrolled use of agrochemicals and identified significant barriers in the access to environmental justice.

  1. “Paraguay: Senate must reject bill that prohibits education with a gender perspective”, 20 September