Tuesday 10.4.2018 in Latest Developments
On 22nd March 2018, Mabel Rehnfeldt, an investigative journalist in Paraguay, was summoned for questioning at the Prosecutor's Office. According to reports, Rehnfeldt was a witness in a case over allegations made in her programme "A la gran 730" regarding acts of corruption allegedly committed by governments institutions. However, according to the journalist, the prosecutors directed most of the questions to ascertain the origin of her sources of information, which, as the journalist pointed out, is confidential.
Several civil society organisations issued a statement on the incident, indicating that:
"Having summoned Mabel and subjected her to an extensive interrogation in no way has helped to clarify the facts. It has only served to try to sow fear in her and in other investigative journalists, leaving a clear signal that before the revelation of acts of corruption it will be those who unveil them and not the corrupt ones who will have to walk in the courts". (Translate from Spanish)
On 22nd March 2018, thousands of Paraguayan farmers met in the country’s capital Asunción to once again demand agrarian reform. This was the 25th annual Federación Nacional Campesina (National Farmer Federation) march. This year's march took place one month before the general elections in which Paraguayans will vote for a new president, legislators and provincial governors. The marchers aimed to send a clear message to the candidates about their demands, including on agrarian reform and access to education.
Reclamos campesinos, respuestas del Gobierno Nacional, en la XXV edición de la Marcha Anual de la Federación Nacional Campesina. pic.twitter.com/nF9AA6yRUB— Diario La Nación (@LaNacionPy) March 22, 2018
On 19th March 2018, a group of civil society organisations presented an Urgent Appeal to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and to the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders and the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers. The Urgent Action was to inform the international actors about alleged corruption involving members of the Magistrates' Trial Jury, politicians and members of parliament, which have been recently revealed on audio files.
Civil society organisations have denounced the lack of independence within the judiciary that has contributed to the criminalisation of farmers and social leaders as well as the level of impunity for crimes committed by government officials.