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Concluding Observations, CAT/C/PRY/CO/4-6, 14 December 2011: Paraguay

Conditions of detention and use of pretrial detention

19. The Committee is concerned about the habitual and widespread use of pretrial detention, which may undermine the right to presumption of innocence, rather than non- custodial measures. The Committee is also concerned by the failure to respect the maximum legal period for pretrial detention and by the existence in the State party of legislation that restricts the possibility of using alternatives to preventive detention. The Committee is especially concerned by the extensive use of pretrial detention for children aged between 16 and 18 years.

The Committee notes with concern the abundant information received from various sources on the deplorable material conditions in many of the State party’s police stations and prisons, the overcrowding in them, the inadequate medical services and the almost complete lack of activities for persons deprived of their liberty. In particular, the Committee is concerned about the material conditions in the psychiatric ward of the national prison in Tacumbú and the lack of specialized medical attention provided to the prisoners housed there. The Committee is further concerned about allegations of discrimination against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in the State party’s prisons, including discrimination in allowing private visits from partners. Lastly, the Committee is concerned about the arbitrary use of solitary confinement as a punishment in the State party’s prisons (arts. 2, 11 and 16).

The State party should take effective measures to ensure that its policy of pretrial detention is in conformity with international standards and that pretrial detention is used solely as a last resort and for a limited period, in conformity with the requirements laid down in its legislation. To this end, the State party should review the use of pretrial detention as a primary measure for accused persons awaiting trial and consider the possibility of using alternatives to deprivation of liberty, as described in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for Non-custodial Measures (the Tokyo Rules), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 45/110, in particular in cases involving minors. The State party should also increase judicial control over the duration of pretrial detention.

The State party should adopt urgent measures to ensure that detention conditions in police stations, prisons and other detention centres are in conformity with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners, adopted by the Economic and Social Council in its resolutions 663 C (XXIV) and 2076 (LXII). In particular, the Committee recommends that the State party should: (…)

(d) Redouble efforts to combat discrimination against vulnerable groups, and in particular against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

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