In its official response to the GDP’s Covid-19 survey, Paraguay’s Immigration Service (Dirección General de Migraciones, DGM) reported that the country had not implemented a detention moratorium since the onset of the pandemic. The DGM explained that it is not authorised to order immigration-related detention, that that requires judicial intervention, as per Ley 978/96 de Migraciones. Responding to the question about whether any immigration detainees had been released in response to the pandemic, the DGM reported that permits of foreigners had been temporarily extended and thus no new migration detention orders had been made, confirming earlier reports about Paraguay posted on this platform (see Paraguay, 10 July 2020).
Since the pandemic began Paraguay has received only five asylum requests, according to the DGM, all of which have been made at the border control station Infante Rivarola, on the border with Bolivia. Asylum seekers must comply with all sanitary norms and undergo obligatory quarantine at a designated reception centre/shelter (“albergue”). The DGM added that all people who enter the country from another country must undergo Covid-19 tests and go into isolation for 14 days.
With respect to deportations, the DGM reported that these had continued during the crisis, though not to places where border closures prevented returns. The DGM highlighted cases of Brazilians who had been deported for unspecified reasons as well as people living in border towns like Ciudad del Este who have been ordered to leave the country for breaking quarantine rules.
In the previous updates on this platform (Venezuela 12 August 2020), we reported that according to UNHCR, there were some 3,588 displaced Venezuelans living in the country as of July (see also 10 July Paraguay update on this platform). The DGM did not provide information indicating to what extent these people face restrictions or other pressures as a result of their status or because of the Covid-19 crisis. However, in late June, the newspaper La Nacion reported that immigration officials had intercepted 45 Paraguayan and Brazilian nationals who were trying to cross the border. In response, the immigration authority requested greater police presence at certain entry points. There are currently two official border crossings in the Canindeyu department.
- Dirección General de Migraciones (Rafael Arrego), Email to Michael Flynn (Global Detention Project), 28 August 2020, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/paraguay-direccion-general-de-migracion-covid-19-letter-to-the-global-detention-project-7-august-2020
- UNHCR, “Factsheet: Paraguay,” May 2020, https://www.acnur.org/op/op_fs/5efe098a4/unhcr-fact-sheet-paraguay-may-2020.html
- La Nación, “Covid-19: Evitan Cruce Ilegal de 45 Personas en Frontera Entre Paraguay y Brasil,” 30 June 2020, https://www.lanacion.com.py/pais/2020/06/30/covid-19-evitan-cruce-ilegal-de-45-personas-en-frontera-entre-paraguay-y-brasil/
- Global Detention Project, Immigration Detention in Paraguay, https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/countries/americas/paraguay
- “Infante Rivarola: Bolivia does not carry out sanitary control at the border, but Paraguay does,” RCC, https://rcc.com.py/chaco/infante-rivarola-bolivia-no-realiza-control-sanitario-en-frontera-paraguay-si/