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U.S. Statement on the UPR Working Group Intervention for Paraguay
February 2, 2011

Remarks by the Delegation of the United States of America

UPR Working Group Intervention for Paraguay, 10th Session

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

(Delivered in Spanish)

The United States welcomes His Excellency Minister Humberto Blasco and the Paraguayan delegation to the UPR Working Group and commends Paraguay on completion of its national report and presentation today. We have carefully reviewed the content of the report and today’s presentation, and would like to offer the following observations and recommendations.

(Delivered in English)

The United States notes that Paraguay has addressed the rights of members of various vulnerable populations in its national report and its presentation. We welcome these efforts but remain particularly concerned that as noted by the Human Rights Committee and civil society groups, those in prison, women, indigenous persons, LGBT persons, and disabled persons continue to face violence and discrimination with little support or recourse. We appreciate the delegation’s detailed attention to this issue in its presentation, particularly its emphasis on human rights and education and we would appreciate any additional information regarding plans to combat violence.

The United States applauds Paraguay’s progress in modernizing the administration of justice, but we remain concerned with corruption and impunity, which impede broader progress and reduce the effectiveness of all branches of government.

Is Paraguay planning to implement the recommendation of the Center for Judicial Studies (CEJ) for greater transparency, and modernization in the judiciary? How does Paraguay plan to tackle fundamental systemic weaknesses in the system, such as the politicization of the selection of judges? Through programs such as the Millennium Challenge Corporation Threshold Program, Paraguay also has worked to establish more modern systems to prevent acts of corruption, control processes, and sanction corruption. We would appreciate any additional information regarding measures to strengthen investigation and prosecution of official corruption and impunity within the police, and to end political interference in the judiciary.

The Human Rights Committee and the Special Rapporteur on Torture noted several concerns related to prison and detention conditions and treatment, and we note with appreciation Paraguay’s adoption of Decree # 4674 in July 2010. We greatly appreciate the information provided by the minister regarding these issues, and would appreciate any further information regarding efforts to end torture and cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment in prison and detention settings

Bearing in mind these concerns, the United States would like to make the following four recommendations:

1. To consider adopting legislation or other new measures to more fully monitor, report, investigate, and prosecute all allegations of torture, extrajudicial execution, or other abuse of those in prison.

2. To consider adopting legislation or other measures that enable investigation and prosecution for gender-based violence.

3. To consider enacting and implementing objective and balanced criteria for the seating and removal of judges that limit political interference with an emphasis on improving the objectivity and effectiveness of Paraguay’s justice system.

4. To ensure that persons with disabilities have appropriate access to facilities and services, including education, information, and public transportation.