Mercosur Parliament (Parlasur) member Ricardo Canese, told Prensa Latina today that the human rights situation in Paraguay was “critical”.
Yesterday the Commission of Human Rights of Parlasur held a public hearing of various social organizations in Asuncion between 8am and 3pm, in order to prepare its annual report on the situation of human rights in the member states.
The hearing followed multiple denunciations of human rights violations registered in the country, especially against indigenous communities and peasant organizations. It was requested by Canese, member of progressive party Frente Guasú.
He said that some of the denunciations were extremely serious, such as the murder of 113 peasant leaders, which have not led to any judicial charges against land-owners so far – the alleged intellectual authors. The denunciations also concerned the destruction of indigenous lands, including sacred lands, as well as toxic fumigation on indigenous populations.
Moreover, this is occurring in addition to current flooding in the region, with rural populations receiving little assistance and left without communication, further impinging on their human rights situation.
Canese added that this hearing was the first out of five planned on the agenda of Parlasur; it will soon be followed by the writing of a report, and possibly the adoption of sanctions.
Human rights are one of the founding pillars of its Mercosur´s integration process, he said, adding that only “real and participator democracies” respect them, as opposed to “elite and oligarchic ones”.
“We will request that sanctions be applied against the culprits of human rights violations”, he said.
Canese also commented on the recent report handed by Paraguay Presidente Horacio Cartes to the Mercosur Parliament, which claimed that his government respected human rights. “I think the President is autistic, he lives in his business world, the world of an elite that only sees millions of dollars, evades tax and conducts international transactions, but considers betraying sovereignty of the state in order to make profits, at the Paraguayans´expenses,” he said. Cartes is a former business person.
Lastly, he said that this hearing will stimulate people´struggle for human rights in Paraguay, as it will receive important support by Parlasur.
Julia Perie, an Argentinian presiding over the hearing, said that, “Over 30 organizations have something to say about human rights, civil society organisations, state ones, LGBT institutions, writers, and others”.
She said the hearing will investigate the 2012 Curuguaty massacre, where 11 peasants and six police died.
Today, the members of the commission visit the National Penitentiary in Tacumbu in Asuncion, and will speak with the peasant leaders incarcerated.