AMERICA/PARAGUAY - The Bishops in the north denounce the very serious abuses of the special anti-guerrilla force (FTC)

Tuesday, 17 April 2018 bishops   violence   human rights   local churches  

Concepción (Agenzia Fides) - "We join the pain of Edelio Morínigo's parents, we assure our prayer and solidarity, we share the testimony and commitment of brother priests Pablo Cáceres and Cristhian Paiva, who accompanied the victims of the law enforcement abuses in the conflict that affects the north of the country. We reject the unfounded accusations of the Joint Action Force (FTC) against them". This is what the Bishops, priests and deacons of the five dioceses and apostolic vicariates of the northern area of Paraguay say in a statement sent to Agenzia Fides.
On Thursday, April 12 a team of the FTC - force created to fight the guerrilla of the self-appointed Paraguayan People's Army (EPP) operating in the provinces of San Pedro and Concepcion - had found in a camp of abandoned guerrillas, some sheets of paper for police officer Edelio Morinigo’s family, kidnapped for almost four years. The FTC states, however, that it is not yet able to confirm Edelio's death.
At the news, the local Church in the area expressed itself forcefully, asking among other things for the exemption of the law that the FTC established, because "it uses force incorrectly, breaking into the homes of poor ordinary people, destroying their things, torture, extortion, sexual assault, physical and psychological abuse ... ". "We see with concern - the signatories of the statement affirm - the abuses of State power against the dignity of persons and human rights, ignoring the constitutional guarantees of a state of law, through the presence of the FTC". "We witness with sorrow the news of the dead hostages, of others whose fate is uncertain, the death of peasants, policemen and soldiers. We condemn the decision of the FTC to close the door to dialogue and to find solutions with Social Pastoral Care-Caritas".
Since the creation of the FTC, in 2013, no guerrilla or criminal has been arrested, while innocent citizens have died. Regarding the two priests mentioned, both had repeatedly denounced abuses by members of the FTC, in addition to the wrongful killings of innocent people, which the military had hidden, blaming the EPP.
The statement "rejects any kind of violence by the various illegal armed groups in the area", and concludes by reiterating its proximity to the citizens of the region, especially in the Alto Paraguay region, "isolated due to the lack of viable roads, who suffer from floods and other foreseeable shortcomings, as a consequence of the indifference and corruption of regional and national authorities". Finally, they encourage "the many ecclesial and social leaders engaged in the search for truth and justice" to join their forces in defense of the human rights of the victims of rampant violence, expressing their desire and commitment so that "our Church becomes an echo of the Word of God that resounds loud and decisive, as a word and gesture of mercy, help and forgiveness". (SM) (Agenzia Fides, 17/04/2018)