Paraguay

Not Available

Immigration detainees

2019

Not Available

Detained asylum seekers

2019

Not Available

Detained children

2019

0

Long-term centres

2020

1,071

New asylum applications

2019

Overview

Types of facilities used for migration-related detention
Administrative Ad Hoc Criminal Unknown

01 September 2020

"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/

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.


10 July 2020

Border Post Between Brazil and Paraguay Reinforced With Tires Following the Interception of 45 Migrants Crossing Irregularly, (Gentileza,
Border Post Between Brazil and Paraguay Reinforced With Tires Following the Interception of 45 Migrants Crossing Irregularly, (Gentileza, "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/)

By 9 July, Paraguay had recorded 2,554 cases of Covid-19 and 20 deaths. The country has taken specific measures concerning non-citizens. The Paraguayan migration authority (Dirección General de Migraciones) has prolonged the validity of permits that expired after 13 March 2020. This measure affects people whose temporary residence permits expired after 13 March; non-citizens who have requests pending to present documentation by the immigration authority for the processing of immigration documents, provided that they have expired; non-citizens whose tourist / non-resident permits have expired as of 13 March; and non-citizens who are in the country as tourists / non-residents and whose proof of entry into the country (immigration ticket with entry stamp or immigration stamp in the passport) have expired as of 13 March. The Paraguayan immigration authority also suspended the fine for non-citizens that overstay as many have been left stranded in the country.

According to UNHCR, during May, there were nearly 5,300 persons of concern staying in the country, including 1,016 certified refugees, 694 asylum-seekers, and 3,588 displaced Venezuelans. UNHCR reported that, faced with the Covid-19 situation, their partner agency in the country provided cash assistance to around 64 refugee and migrant families in Asuncion, Alto Parana, and Itapua in May 2020. The agency also distributed food and hygiene items for 164 vulnerable refugee and migrants’ families and hosted a national e-consultation webinar in order to address the socio-economic recovery of refugees and migrants in the framework of the Covid-19 emergency and post emergency. The webinar brought together representatives of key UN agencies, partners, NGO’s specialised in economic integration, the private sector, and refugees and migrants’ organisations.

On 30 June, La Nación reported that immigration officials 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.

In Paraguayan prisons, visits were resumed on 31 May with specific protective measures in place to avoid the spread of Covid-19, such as the filling of a health questionnaire upon arrival, obligation to wear a mask, and people over the age of 65 being prohibited entry. On 25 June, the Minister of Justice, Cecilia Pérez, said that 100 cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed in the Ciudad del Este penitentiary, which currently holds 1,178 persons for 500 spaces.


Last updated: October 2020

Submission to the Universal Periodic Review 
For the 38th Session of the UPR Working Group, April/May 2021

Issues Related to Immigration Enforcement

(Submitted on 15 October 2020)

Download Submission

1. CONTEXT

1.1 Paraguay has not traditionally been a country of concern with respect to the treatment of migrants, refugees, or asylum seekers. This is reflected in the fact that during the previous two UPR cycles, there were no relevant recommendations made to the State party, other than the recommendation that it withdraw its reservation to Articles 76 and 77 of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families (ICMW) (concerning complaint procedures) (see “2. Recommendations during the 2nd Cycle of UPR).

1.2  However, the COVID-19 pandemic requires a renewed scrutiny of this issue. As the GDP has observed during its monitoring of government practices regarding non-nationals during the pandemic,[1] in many contexts the crisis has increased non-nationals’ vulnerability to detention and deportation for migration-related reasons, despite the hazards these activities imply for people in enforcement proceedings.

1.3  According to UNHCR reporting, as of December 2019, there were 5,298 people of concern in Paraguay (1,016 refugees; 694 asylum-seekers; and 3,588 Venezuelans displaced abroad).[2]

1.4  The key provisions regulating administrative immigration-related detention in Paraguay are provided in the Immigration Law N°978/96 (IL) (Ley 978/96 de Migraciones) of 1996, as amended by the 2009 Law N°3.958/10, and as regulated by Decree N°18.295 of 28 August 1997 which Regulates Immigration Law N°978/96.

1.5  Under Article 83 of the IL, in cases of expulsion, the “judicial authority can order the detention of the non-national for the minimum time necessary to ensure that the expulsion is conducted within the time period set by the competent authority that has decided the expulsion.” Further, according to Article 84 of the IL, the Paraguayan immigration authority (Dirección General de Migraciones or DGM) is only entitled to order the expulsion of a non-citizens in the cases provided by Article 81(1); (3) and (4). Article 81 provides that the competent authority will resolve the expulsion of a non-citizen in the following cases: (1) when the person has entered the country clandestinely; (3) when the person remains in the country after the expiration of the authorised period of stay; and (4) when the person remains in the national territory once their residence permit has been cancelled and will not leave the country by the given deadline.

1.6  In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Paraguay took specific measures concerning non-citizens, including prolonging the validity of permits that expired after 13 March 2020, and suspending the issuing of fines for persons who overstay.[3]

1.7  Paraguay has continued to enforce deportations during the crisis despite calls to halt these measures during this time.[4]  The country’s Immigration Service (Dirección General de Migraciones, DGM) confirmed to the GDP that deportations had continued, although not to destinations where border closures prevented returns. The DGM highlighted cases of Brazilians who were deported for unspecified reasons, as well as non-nationals residing in border areas (such as Ciudad del Este and Pedro Juan) who were ordered to leave the country for breaking quarantine rules.[5]

1.8  Thousands of people are reported to have been held in state-run quarantine facilities that observers have highlighted as unsanitary, and which are exposing thousands of returning Paraguayan migrants to “inhumane conditions without adequate food, water and medical care.”[6] According to Amnesty International, by late May authorities had established 84 quarantine centres (in warehouses and other buildings such as schools), and as of late June 2020 more than 8,000 persons—mostly Paraguayan migrants returning from Brazil, having lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic—had been mandatorily quarantined in these facilities. Reports indicate that some persons have been held for far longer than the recommended 14 days, and that at the start of the crisis at least, conditions were inappropriate and lacked basic facilities. Since June, observers have noted improvements in conditions. More recently, many quarantine facilities have reportedly been closed.[7] 

 

2. RECOMMENDATIONS DURING THE 2nd CYCLE OF UPR

2.1 During the 2nd cycle of the Universal Period Review of Paraguay (32nd session, January 2016), Paraguay agreed to examine several recommendations relevant to its immigration enforcement practices.[8] These included:

  • Consider withdrawing its reservation to Articles 76 and 77 of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and members of Their Families (Philippines) (para. 105.2);
  • Ensure the issuance of birth certificates to all children born on its territory, regardless of the status of their parents (Poland) (para. 102.59);
  • Appoint a new Ombudsman without further delay, after the mandate of the present incumbent expired in 2008, while ensuring that the institution compiles fully with the Paris Principles (Germany) (para. 102.20);
  • Implement a status determination procedure to ensure the protection of stateless persons who are not refugees (Portugal) (para. 102.184).

 

3. RECOMMENDATIONS FROM OTHER HUMAN RIGHTS BODIES

3.1 Since Paraguay’s second periodic review, the UN Human Rights Committee has recommended that authorities ensure that national legislation on immigration, including the country’s Refugee Law, are “consistent with the Covenant and other international standards, and take the legal and administrative measures necessary to this end.”[9]

 

4. SUGGESTED RECOMMENDATIONS

  • Ensure that immigration detention is only used as a measure of last resort, when it is necessary and proportionate.
  • Cease the deportation of non-nationals during the pandemic.
  • Ensure that people who may be held in detention while awaiting deportation are held separately from people imprisoned for criminal prosecution.
  • Provide up-to-date information on where—and in what conditions—non-nationals are detained. 
  • Disclose disaggregated data on the number of migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers who are detained.
  • Release detainees whose detention is unlawful or unnecessary, including anyone whose deportation is not possible amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Adopt measures to ensure the protection of immigration detainees during the pandemic, and ensure detained populations have access to testing and treatment.
  • Disclose information clarifying the steps that are being taken to protect immigration detainees during the pandemic.
  • Ensure that victims of trafficking are protected against detention by implementing systematic, proactive screening and identification procedures.

 


[1] Global Detention Project, “COVID-19 Global Immigration Detention Platform,” https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/covid-19-immigration-detention-platform

[2] UNHCR, “Paraguay Fact Sheet (June 2020),” June 2020, https://reporting.unhcr.org/sites/default/files/PAR%20factsheet%20-%20June%202020%20FINAL.pdf

[3] Global Detention Project, “COVID-19 Global Immigration Detention Platform – Paraguay,” https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/covid-19-immigration-detention-platform#Paraguay

[4] UN Network on Migration, “Forced Returns of Migrants Must be Suspended in Times of Covid-19,” 13 May 2020, https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/forced-returns-migrants-must-be-suspended-times-covid-19

[5] 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

[6] Amnesty, “Tens of Thousands Locked Up in “Punitive” State-Run Quarantine Centres Across Venezuela, El Salvador and Paraguay – New Report,” 17 September 2020, https://www.amnesty.org.uk/press-releases/tens-thousands-locked-punitive-state-run-quarantine-centres-across-venezuela-el 

[7] Amnesty International, “When Protection Becomes Repression: Mandatory Quarantines Under COVID-19 in the Americas,” 17 September 2020, https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/AMR0129912020ENGLISH.PDF

[8] UN Human Rights Council, “Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, A/HRC/32/9,” 12 April 2016, https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G16/075/49/PDF/G1607549.pdf?OpenElement

[9] UN Human Rights Committee, “Concluding Observations on the Fourth Periodic Report of Paraguay, CCPR/C/PRY/CO/4,” 20 August 2019, https://uhri.ohchr.org/document/index/B4EFA012-1C4B-4BC1-8306-31427CF8495

IMMIGRATION AND DETENTION-RELATED STATISTICS

Total number of immigration detainees by year
Not Available
2019
Number of immigration detainees on a given day
Not Available
2019
Top nationalities of detainees
Not Available
2019
Number of persons granted alternatives to immigration detention
Not Available
2019
Number of detained asylum seekers
Not Available
2019
Total number of detained minors
Not Available
2019
Number of detained unaccompanied minors
Not Available
2019
Number of detained accompanied minors
Not Available
2019
Number of detained stateless persons
Not Available
2019
Number of apprehensions of non-citizens
Not Available
2019
Immigration detainees as a percentage of total international migrant population
Not Available
2019
Estimated total immigration detention capacity
Not Available
2020
Number of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres
0
2020
Estimated capacity of dedicated long-term immigration detention centres
0
2020
Number of dedicated medium-term immigration detention centres
0
2020
Number of criminal facilities
18
2017
Criminal prison population
13,300
2020
12,741
2015
6,146
2009
6,115
2007
6,281
2005
5,071
2003
4,121
2001
3,794
1998
2,768
1995
Percentage of foreign prisoners
4.2
2014
Prison population rate (per 100,000 of national population)
180
2015
97
2009
99
2007
105
2005
89
2003
75
2001
74
1998
57
1995
Population
7,100,000
2020
International migrants
160,519
2019
Refugees
1,016
2020
266
2018
205
2017
194
2016
172
2015
153
2014
Ratio of refugees per 1000 inhabitants
0.03
2016
Total number of new asylum applications
1,071
2019
49
2016
Stateless persons
0
2016

SOCIO-ECONOMIC INDICATORS

Gross Domestic Product per capita (in USD)
5,414
2019
Unemployment Rate
5
2020
Human Development Index Ranking (UNDP)
99 (High)
2017

DOMESTIC LAWS AND POLICIES

Legal tradition
Civil law
2017
Constitutional guarantees?
Yes (Constitución de la República del Paraguay, Artículo 11 (Constitution of the Republic of Paraguay, Article 11)) 1992 2011
1992
Core pieces of national legislation
General Law on Refugees N°1938/02 of 2002 (GLR) (Ley N°1938 de 2002 General Sobre Refugiados) (2002)
2002
Ley 978/96 de Migraciones (Immigration Law No. 978/96) (1996) 2009
1996
Ley N°3.958/10 Que Modifica y Amplia La Ley N°227/93 "Que Crea la Secretaria de Desarollo Para Repatriados y Refugiados Connacionales"; y Modifica La Ley N°978/96 de Migraciones de 28 de Diciembre 2009 (Law N°3.958/10 Which Modifies and Widens Law N°227/93 Which Creates the Secretary of Development for Returnees and Connational Refugees); and Modifies Immigration Law N°978/96) (2009)
2009
Additional legislation
Decree N°4483/15 of 27 November 2015, by Which the National Migration Policy of the Republic of Paraguay is Approved (Decreto N°4483/15 por el Cual se Aprueba la Política Nacional de Migraciones de la Republica del Paraguay) (2015)
2015
Law N°4504/11 of 11 November 2011, which Modifies Articles 13 and 20 of the General Law on Refugees N°1938/02 of 2002 (Ley N°4504 que Modifica los Artículos 13 y 20 de la Ley N°1938/02 General Sobre Refugiados) (2011)
2011
Regulations, standards, guidelines
Decreto N°18.295 del 28 de Agosto de 1997 que Reglamenta La Ley N°978/96 de Migraciones (Decree N°18.295 of 28 August 1997 Which Regulates Immigration Law N°978/96) (1997)
1997
Immigration-status-related grounds
Detention to effect removal
1996
Does the country provide specific criminal penalties for immigration-related violations?
Yes (No)
1997
Maximum length for administrative immigration detention in law.
No Limit
2015

INTERNATIONAL LAW

Individual complaints procedure
Acceptance Year
CRPD, Optional Protocol to o the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2008
2008
CAT, declaration under article 22 of the Convention 2002
2002
CEDAW, Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, 1999 2001
2001
ICCPR, First Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966 1995
1995
Ratio of complaints procedures accepted
Observation Date
4/9
4/9
Relevant recommendations issued by treaty bodies
Recommendation Year
Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination §14. The Committee urges the State party to take immediate action to name an Ombudsman through a selection and appointment process that is transparent and participatory and in which the guiding principles are merit, ability and integrity. The Committee recommends that the State party adopt the legislative and administrative measures needed to ensure that the Office of the Ombudsman fully complies with the principles relating to the status of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights (the Paris Principles). 2016
2016
Committee on Migrant Workers §29. The Committee urges the State party to take into consideration the need to provide protection for migrant children who have been separated from their parents and to design an effective strategy for dealing with unaccompanied or separated migrant children who enter the country and for ensuring that they receive the assistance that they need in accordance with international standards of child protection. 2012
2012
Regional legal instruments
Year of Ratification (Treaty) / Transposed (Directive) / Adoption (Regulation)
ACHR, American Convention on Human Rights 1989
1989
IACPPT, Inter-American Convention to Prevent and Punish Torture 1990
1990
APACHR, Additional Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 1997
1997
CBDP, Inter-American Convention on the Prevention, Punishment and Eradication of Violence against Women (Convention of Belem do Para) 1995
1995
IACFDP, Inter-American convention on Forced Disappearance of Persons 1996
1996
Visits by special procedures of the Human Rights Council
Year of Visit
Observation Date
Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography 2004
2004
2015
Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment 2006
2006
2015
Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief 2011
2011
2015
Relevant recommendations of the UN Universal Periodic Review
Observation Date
No 2016
2017
No 2011

INSTITUTIONAL INDICATORS

Apprehending authorities
Policía Nacional (National Police) (Police) Ministry of Foreign Affairs
2020