The police control the local of CODEHUPY during a civic meeting

Tuesday 27 August 2013

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Authorship: Enrique Gauto Bozzano.

Editorial and Canal: Human Rights Coordinator Office of Paraguay (Coordinadora de Derechos Humanos del Paraguay (CODEHUPY)).

Type of document: Statement.

Language: Spanish.

Subject: Human rights.

Keywords: Frightening, human rights, state of emergency and social organizations.

Countries and Regions: Paraguay.

Five police cars from the National Police, with personnel from the Police Station 18 in the Metropolitan Area (Asunción) arrived during the night of Thursday, August 22, right across the local of the Human Rights Coordinator Office of Paraguay, located at the street Estados Unidos Nº 1431 between 2ª and 3ª Proyectadas, at a time in which in the interior of said building was taking place a meeting of several social and human rights organizations regarding the Law of National Defense and Domestic Security, adopted this last Thursday by the Legislative Power. Fernando Rojas, a member of the organizations DECIDAMOS (a member organization of CODEHUPY) explained “The first to arrive were two police cars, followed later on by two more cars and lastly a fifth one with personnel from the Specialized Operations Police Force (FOPE) – a unit of special forces of the national police from Paraguay and they were parked in one of the corners. One of the police members got close to the office of CODEHUPY asking what the meeting was for and if we needed something, but I told him that the demonstrations was over and there was no need for him to enter the local”. “Police cars stayed for the whole period of the meeting – around two hours – from 19:30 to 21:30 hours”, he said.

The Human Rights Coordinator Office of Paraguay (CODEHUPY) presented in the morning of this last Thursday a note addressed to leaders from the Chamber of Deputies modifying articles 2nd, 3rd and 56th of Law Nº 1337/99 of National Defense and Domestic Security, presented by the Executive Power and which is partly adopted by the Chamber of Deputies; lastly the Project was adopted by the House of Senators.

The CODEHUPY, in that note, was urging different party groups within the Chamber to vote against said modifications, based on the following reasons: 1) The Draft Law runs contrary to Article 3 of the National Constitution, since it infringes the balance principle among State powers, by granting the Executive Power more power in detriment of the rest of state powers and escaping from the control by other powers; and 2) the Draft Law allows in practice for the Executive Power to install an emergency state on a permanent basis, without any time limitation, and without any type of approval or control by the Legislative Power.

On the occasion of the approval of the Draft, a group of organizations and citizens staged a demonstration at the esplanade of the National Hero Pantheon rejecting the modifications implemented to the Defense Law, which they qualify as a weakening of the democratic system in the country. By the end of said meeting, several of those participating in the demonstration marched to the local of the CODEHUPY to define which actions were to follow and to be prepared related to this issue. During the development of said meeting the police stayed with police cars and anti-riot forces right across the local of the CODEHUPY.

“It is really a show of force to have so many members of the police force guarding a meeting in a city that most probably and that same time illicit events were taking place so they were leaving unprotected people that needed that protection. It serves no aim whatsoever to allocate so many resources as they used to do when a dictatorship was installed in the country to simply provide custody to a specific place where members of the opposition are meeting. It is really very difficult not to establish an association with the time of the Strossner dictatorship, commented finally Fernando Rojas.

The CODEHUPY rejects this threatening action they had to endure which also affects social and human rights organizations attending said meeting, and it reaffirms its commitment for the promotion of human rights.

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