September 2, 2014, marks 10 years since the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IA Court) condemned Paraguay for the Panchito López Juvenile Reeducation Institute case (Instituto de Reeducación del Menor Panchito López).
Between 1996 and 2001, around 4000 children were subject to inhumane prison conditions in the Panchito López center for minors. This prison had the capacity to accommodate 15 inmates, however, it housed between 200 and 300 children at a time. Due to these conditions, during three fires that occurred between 2000 and 2001, twelve children died and dozens of others sustained injuries.
The IA Court considered to be true the facts reported by the Center for Justice and International Law (CEJIL), who represented the victims and their relatives before the Inter-American Human Rights System.
Although it has been 10 years since the judgment was issued, the State has yet to comply with the majority of the reparation measures ordered by the IA Court, including the order to draft a comprehensive public policy on children in conflict with the law, which must be in harmony with the international human rights standards. Likewise, the State has not given comprehensive reparations to the victims of the case including access to health and education, as well as other measures ordered by the Tribunal.
The outstanding debts that Paraguay continues to hold in this area are of particular concern. In recent months, four children have died and at least ten others have sustained injuries in the Itaguá Juvenile Detention Center (Centro de Detención para Adolescentes Itaguá), which replaced Panchito López.
In this scenario, CEJIL urges Paraguay to implement the outstanding reparation measures in this case, particularly those designed to prevent the repetition of the violations of fundamental rights suffered by children of Panchito López.
Photographich credits: One of the fires in Panchito López (2000) / ABC Color.