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Paraguay at the UN: High hopes for impunity to be subject of discussion

Following a fact-finding visit to Paraguay, the IFEX-ALC submitted a report to the UN Human Rights Council, detailing the context for free expression in the country. Recommendations have now been included in the official stakeholders' report.

Members of the IFEX-ALC delegation speak with the Interior Minister, Francisco José De Vargas (centre), during their visit to Paraguay
Members of the IFEX-ALC delegation speak with the Interior Minister, Francisco José De Vargas (centre), during their visit to Paraguay

IFEX-ALC

The IFEX Latin American and Caribbean alliance (IFEX-ALC) was formed in 2009 with the goal of collaborating and leveraging the collective power of its 19 member organisations to address free expression issues in the region. In 2015, the group agreed to work together on a campaign against impunity for crimes against journalists and community radio stations in Paraguay – a country with serious issues that receives relatively little attention on the world stage.

IFEX-ALC members formed a delegation, which met in Paraguay in May 2015. The delegation included Pedro Vaca, the Executive Director of the Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP) in Colombia; Paula Martins, Director for ARTICLE 19's South America office in Brazil; Ileana Alamilla, Director of the Centro de Reportes Informativos sobre Guatemala (CERIGUA); and Santiago Ortiz, from the Union of Journalists of Paraguay (SPP) in Paraguay.

During three days in Asunción, they met with government officials, civil society organisations, members of the media and families and colleagues of some of the 17 journalists who have been murdered in Paraguay and whose killers have yet to be brought to justice.

Their findings have been incorporated into a report, which has been submitted to the UN Human Rights Council, in advance of Paraguay's formal Universal Periodic Review (UPR), scheduled to take place on 20 January 2016.

The report gives an overview of the Paraguayan context for freedom of expression, including the state's obligations and the risk factors faced by the country's media, and specifically, community radio stations. It calls for investigations into outstanding cases of murdered journalists, the creation of a special unit focused on free expression violations, and guarantees that Paraguayan journalists be able to carry out their work in safety.

Some of the IFEX-ALC recommendations were included in the Summary of stakeholders' information report, one of the documents that will inform discussions during the UPR at the UN Human Rights Council.

Read or download the delegation's report for the UN Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review on Paraguay [in English] [in Spanish].

This statement was originally published on 22 July 2015, and has been updated

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