52. The Committee considered the initial report of Paraguay (CAT/C/12/Add.3) at its 158th, 159th and 161st meetings, held on 10 and 11 November 1993 (see CAT/C/SR.158, 159 and 161), and adopted the following conclusions and recommendations:
53. The Committee thanks the State party for its report and for its cooperation in the constructive dialogue with the Committee; it takes note of the information submitted in the report and presented orally by the representative of Paraguay.
54. Paraguay has complied with its obligation to submit an initial report under article 19 of the Convention, and its second periodic report is due on 10 April 1995.
B. Positive aspects
55. The Committee regards as very positive the fact that Paraguay now has a democratic Government and that its authorities have expressed the firm determination to promote and protect human rights and, in particular, to bring about the total and effective eradication of torture and other similar treatment. It also regards as a positive step the adoption in 1992 of a new democratic Constitution that firmly enshrines fundamental human rights and expressly prohibits torture.
56. It is also encouraging that judicial proceedings are now under way to investigate grave violations of human rights, especially torture and political murders committed under the previous regime.
C. Subjects of concern
57. However, the Committee is concerned, firstly, that the practice of torture continues within the police, according to serious allegations received; the victims of this practice are said to be not only adults, but also minors.
58. The Committee is also concerned about the complex situation in the prisons, which do not appear to meet the minimum requirements in order to serve as re-education centres for offenders and not to become instruments of ill-treatment.
59. Another cause for concern is the continued lack of legal mechanisms to make clearer the prohibition of torture (which the Constitution has already established), to halt extended or incommunicado detention and, in general, to bring domestic law fully into line with the Convention. The Committee is also concerned about the absence, in practice, of a swift and firm reaction on the part of the courts to allegations of ill-treatment and torture.
60. Lastly, the Committee is concerned about the slow pace of judicial proceedings relating to violations of human rights committed under the previous regime and also about Paraguay's apparently inadequate system for the civil compensation and rehabilitation of victims.
61. The Committee believes that Paraguay could have a more complete mechanism for the eradication of torture if it recognized the competence of the Committee under articles 21 and 22 of the Convention.
62. The Committee hopes to receive in writing the replies that it did not obtain orally during those meetings and, in particular, comments on the information communicated to the Committee by two non-governmental organizations.
63. The Committee encourages the Government of Paraguay to finish making changes to its legislation and to bring it into line with the Convention, as well as to speed up investigations and judicial proceedings relating to torture and other similar treatment.
64. The Government might wish to request the technical assistance of the United Nations Centre for Human Rights.
65. A contribution by Paraguay to the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture would be a gesture reflecting that State's determination to promote human rights.