Washington College of Law
Center For Human Rights and Humanitarian Law

CASE 1802 (Paraguay)

Case 1802, March 1, 1974, reporting the enslavement and other acts of genocide being committed against Indian populations in Paraguay, specially against the Aches Indians, with the toleration and complicity of the national authorities. The report was supplemented by evidence from witnesses to the facts, photographs allegedly proving the infrahuman status of the Aches Indians, the torture and murder of the men and the selling of women into prostitution, the sale of children as slaves, deprivation of food and medicines, destruction of the traditional culture of that tribe, and the breaking up of family units.

In a note dated April 8, 1974, the Commission requested the Government of Paraguay to provide the pertinent information and transmitted to it the pertinent parts of the complaints, in accordance with Articles 42 and 44 of the Rules of Procedure.

During the thirty-second session (April 1974), the Commission decided, in view of the fact that the request for information had only recently been made to the Government of Paraguay, to postpone its examination of the case until it received the information to be supplied by that Government and authorized the Chairman of the Commission to repeat that request if he thought it appropriate. In addition, it decided to include the subject matter of the denunciation as part of the subject "Special Protection of Indian Populations", the rapporteur for which is Dr. Gabino Fraga, so that he might take it into account in the study being prepared on this subject.

In addition, at that session the CIDH heard a representative of the complainant agency, which had requested an opportunity to supplement the report. During the course of that hearing, the speaker provided various documents and photographs corroborating the facts, mentioned the lack of collaboration of the Government of Paraguay with international organizations interested in the fate of Indians in that country, and emphasized the desirability and need for the CIDH to undertake a through investigation of the status of Indian populations in Paraguay.

In view of the new information presented by the speaker, the Commission decided on that occasion to again address the Government of Paraguay and to transmit to it the pertinent parts of the additional information on the case.

In implementation of this decision, the Commission addressed the Government of Paraguay on June 3, 1974.

Other international organizations and persons sent communications to the Commission on the same facts, urging it to make a speedy and effective investigation of the status of the Indian tribes in Paraguay. In some of these communications the report was supplemented by data which allegedly revealed further prosecutions of such tribes and, in particular, of the Aches Indians.

With this information, the CIDH continued its examination of case 1802 at its thirty-fourth session, noting that the Government of Paraguay had not provided the information requested.

Bearing in mind the seriousness of the facts set forth in the complaint, the Commission decided:

  1. To repeat to the Government of Paraguay the request that it send the pertinent information, and to mention the time limit established in Article 51 of the Rules of Procedure; and
  2. To appoint Mr. Robert F. Woodward special rapporteur for this case so that he might prepare a study containing conclusions and recommendations to be considered at the regular session of the Commission to be held in May, 1974.

In implementation of paragraph a of this decision, the CIDH addressed the Government of Paraguay on December 17, 1974. Also, in a letter dated November 20, 1974, it informed the complainant of the status of the case.

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