Statement | 19-04-2014
Paraguay Agrarian Reform Natural Resources

FIAN supports request for provisional measures for five prisoners – Paraguay

FIAN supports request to protect the rights to adequate food, life and integrity in Curuguaty case, Paraguay

'Yes' to life, 'No' to death. Paraguay, 2008.

During an incident in the context of a land occupation of lands that are known as Marina Kue on 15 June 2012, often referred to as "the massacre of Curuguaty", 17 people (eleven peasants and six policemen) were killed. The background of this conflict is the demand for access to land and agrarian reform by landless peasants in a country with one of the most unequal land distribution in the world and one of the highest levels of malnutrition in Latin America. The rapid expansion of monocultures of genetically modified soy has deepened land disputes between agribusiness and peasants, which have led to violations of the right to food and other human rights .

The public prosecutor accuses the peasants of having ambushed the police and has filed them with seven criminal charges. The identification of the persons is based on a list of persons who were identified as being members of the committee of the landless. In March 2013, the Human Rights Committee of the United Nations expressed concern over allegations of serious irregularities in the actions of the Public Ministry, the judiciary and the security forces during the eviction in Curuguaty, as well as over information on the lack of impartiality and independence in the process of investigation and prosecution.

Five accused and imprisoned peasants began a hunger strike to protest about their detention and the irregularities of the process. Given the serious health condition of detainees after more than 50 days of hunger strike, their lawyers filed a request for provisional measures to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.

With this letter FIAN International expresses its support for the application of provisional measures in order to protect the rights to a fair trial as well as the life and well-being of the detainees. FIAN also urges the Commission to call upon the Paraguayan State to suspend the trial that is supposed to start on 26 June until the status of the land of Marina Kue have been determined.

Note: On April 12, the court in Saltos del Guaira granted house arrest for the five prisoners. With this decision it modified its decision of 9 April by which it had rejected the request to replace custody for house arrest. The prisoners decided to end their hunger strike after 58 days.

Please read FIAN's letter of support below (available in Spanish)