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Paraguay
07.03.00
Urgent Interventions

Paraguay: ill-treatment inflicted on four minors

Paraguay: Ill-treatment inflicted on four minors


Case PRY 070300.CC
CHILD CONCERN


The International Secretariat of the OMCT requests your URGENT intervention in the following situation in Paraguay.

Brief description of the situation:

The International Secretariat of the OMCT has just been informed by a reliable source of the ill-treatment inflicted upon two minors in the Panchito Lopez Correctional Establishment for Minors and others who were transferred to the Penal Establishment for Adults in Emboscada in Paraguay.

According to information, in the early morning hours of February 25th 2000 the following minors were ill-treated: Francisco Carballo Figueredo, aged 15 and Rubén Darío Alcaraz, aged 17.

Both were made to undergo medical examinations by staff of the International Organization for the Defence of the Child, Paraguayan Section. The younger, Francisco Carballo Figueredo shows obvious signs of blows on the back and is very much affected psychologically, showing signs of anxiety and distress. According to the testimony of the younger boy, in addition to the blows he was manacled to a column and placed face down for almost three hours. Rubèn Dario Alcaraz was placed hands tied on a number of bricks which were then withdrawn so that he remained hanging.

The reports also add that in recent times the repressive measures against minors in detention in the Correctional Centre concerned have been increased and that some members of the security staff fail to wear identification badges while others do not wear uniform. The reports also add that in the same institution recently two fires broke out causing the death of 7 minors and injuring 43 others, all of which, according to the complaint, is due to the extremely marginalized conditions in which the minors are detained.

After the second fire which took place on February 18th 2000 at the Panchito Lopez penal establishment for minors, 72 minors were transferred to the adult penal establishment of Emboscada where, according ito various complaints, some of the minors were subjected to ill-treatment. Victor Aponte, aged 17,shows obvious signs of blows on the back and is held incommunicado in the adult section. In addition he has symptoms of cerebral irritation and since his transfer has not received the appropriate medication. Antero Daniel Roa, aged 17, has traces of blows on the face and back and was also suspended face down. There are 13 other children in the same penal establishment of Emboscadas, held incommunicado in an isolation cell in the adult pavillion.

Additional information shows that from the 2nd of March 2000 according to instructions from the correctional centre an apparent mutiny occurred in the middle of which at the request of those interned in the mutineers' pavillion members of the International Organization for the Defence of the Child were called in. On arrival these persons found themselves facing members of the anti-mutiny police and firemen. Reports also add that apparently during the dislodging the inmates were beaten on the back, arms and legs with truncheons and chains. The reports further state that after this operation the director of penal institutions, Dr. Marciano Rodriguez Baez addressed both sides (officials and internees) requesting "a truce or non-aggression pact", promising that "in a week he would definitely arrange their transfer to a place offering better conditions".

The organization Defensa de los Ninos Internacional (DEI-DNI), Paraguayan section, fears that if these promises have not been fulfilled by the end of this period there may be a desperate reaction on the part of the internees.

The International Secretariat of the OMCT shares this concern of the Paraguayan section of the DNI for the physical and psychological integrity of all the minors detained in the Panchito Lopez correctional institution and the Emboscada penal establishment for adults.

Action requested

Please write to the Paraguayan authorities urging them to:

i. take all appropriate measures to garantee the physiscal and psychological integrity of Francisco Carballo Figueredo, Rubén Darío Alcaraz, Víctor Aponte, Antero Daniel Roa and the other minors detained in the correctional institutions of Paraguay;
ii. carry out a thorough and impartial investigation of the complaints of alleged torture and ill treatment of minors detained in the correctional centre for minors Panchito Lopez and in the Eembjoscada penal institution for adults, in order to identify those responsible, bring them to trial and impose upon them the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions provided by law;
iii. ensure the full and effective respect of human rights throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international standards in human rights, particularly the Convention Against Torture and the Convention on the Rights of the Child ratified by Paraguay.

Addresses

- S.E. Don Nelson Argaa Contreras
Ministro de Defensa Nacional
Fax: (+595 21) 214 475 / (+595 21) 211 583

- Diputada Sonia de León
Presidenta de la Comision de Derechos Humanos
Camara de Diputados
Fax: (+595 21) 498 870

- CODEHUPY
Coordinadora de Derechos Humanos del Paraguay
Fax: (+595 21) 214 047

Diplomatic Representatives of Paraguay in your respective countries

Geneva, 7 March 2000

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code number of this appeal.-
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