The Argentine State granted the “political refugee” status six women relatives of members of the guerrilla group Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP), which operates in the north of that country. These are the mothers, aunts and other relatives of Lilian Mariana Villalba and María Carmen Villalba, the two 11-year-old girls killed by the Joint Task Force (JTF) of Paraguay on September 2, 2020; and the 14-year-old Carmen Elizabeth Villalba, missing since November 30.
The political refuge reaches Myrian Villalba, Alexandra Villalba, Mariana de Jesús Ayala López, María Rosa Villalba, Daniela Esperanza Meza Villalba and Magna Esmeralda Meza Villalba, who passed several years ago from Paraguay to the province of Misiones “escaping from certain death” , according to the Argentine Lawyers Association, the entity that legally represents them.
The National Commission for Refugees signed the resolution on February 18, which establishes “refugee status under the terms of Law No. 26,165.” Thus, women will be able to regularize their migratory situation, and they will no longer be able, if there is a legal case against them, to be extradited to Paraguay.
The complex process to achieve this recognition was carried out by the Argentine Lawyers’ Union, which also defends prisoners accused of belonging to the EPP.
“Many years ago the Union gave a hand to remove many children from the armed conflict zone, children of EPP militants with their mothers. Some companions came pregnant, escaping in some cases from certain death “, it was highlighted from the organization of lawyers.
The women settled in Puerto Rico, Misiones, “and there the children were growing up, studying and integrating. Their mothers studied, like Laura (currently detained in Paraguay) who is a nurse and Myriam who is a lawyer ”.
The Union explained that “from the tragedies and massacres” produced in the persecution of the EPP “Paraguayan military intelligence (advised by Yankees, Israelis and Colombians) put its real and judicial sights on these children and their mothers. They were denounced and requested in extradition. They had to be taken out of Misiones, where they were meters from Paraguay, and brought to Buenos Aires, with military intelligence drones always flying over their house. ” In this context, the organization began the procedures to achieve the status of “political refugees”, finally granted in the middle of this month.
“Knowing that all these girls and the companions, the sisters and the mother of Carmen Villalba (detained in Paraguay) will not be reached by the genocidal and infanticidal Paraguayan Government and State, fills us with tranquility,” concluded the Union.
At the same time, the Paraguayan Human Rights Coordinator (CODEHUPY) carried out an “Observation Mission in the northern part of the country” and concluded by listing various human rights violations.
The organization -which this Friday presented its preliminary report at a press conference- questioned the actions of the State for the “militarization” of security tasks, but at the same time characterized the Paraguayan People’s Army as a “criminal organization” and equated its actions with the human rights violations committed by the Government of Mario Abdo Benítez .
Between February 22 and 26, 2021, CODEHUPY carried out an observation mission in the departments of Concepción, San Pedro and Amambay, in the northern part of the eastern region of Paraguay, which, as explained, “had the general objective of collecting information on the situation of Human Rights in the communities that have coexisted since 2013 with a process of militarization and the presence of criminal groups in the northern zone of Paraguay ”.
During the press conference given by Myrian González and Oscar Ayala, both Executive Secretaries of the entity, the EPP was described as a “criminal organization” and the “kidnappings and murders” claimed by the guerrilla group were listed as “serious and systematic facts”. .
He even questioned the girls’ families for not protecting them, in the context of violence in the north of the country, and spoke of a “confrontation” between the EPP and the FTC on the day of the murder of the minors.
Ayala asked the State to address the situation generated by the presence of the EPP with a “police treatment and as a security issue”, and to rule out, in that sense, a politically negotiated solution as happens in other countries where the these organizations as “belligerents”.
CODEHUPY criticized the persecution against peasants and social leaders, whom the Government characterizes as collaborators with the EPP and condemns them in trials without having the minimum necessary evidence.
During his speech, Ayala questioned whether this task has been left to the Army and other non-police security forces; He called for “more government action to prevent these events” and a “change of strategy in the State’s security policies,” and expressed solidarity with the families of the people that the EPP is holding hostage.
The referents of the human rights organization did not mention the situation of the murder of the two 11-year-old Argentine girls and the disappearance of the 14-year-old girl, until they were consulted by the press. After the question, Ayala said that the Joint Task Force should make a “greater effort” in the search for Carmen Elizabeth and “stick posters with her face” in the towns of the Department of Concepción.
The CODEHUPY report was criticized by referents of human rights organizations and organizations in Argentina.
During the press conference in Paraguay, the co-President of the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights (APDH), María Elena Nadde, intervened virtually in the comments of the broadcast to clarify that “The crimes of civil society or individuals do not justify State terrorism.”
In the same vein, he asked: “Are they not going to comment on anything about the murdered Argentine girls? And about the disappeared adolescent? From APDH Argentina we are very concerned ”, he said.
Meanwhile, for Laura Taffetani of the Lawyers’ Union, the CODEHUPY press conference was “regrettable” because “it puts the situation of families on the same level as the obligation of the State. The role of a human rights organism is only to control the violations that exist of human rights of a State, and it does not have the power to evaluate other situations of individuals, not even that of social, political, and even armed organizations ”.
“I am very sorry for this type of report, in Argentina we have already experienced it with the theory of the two demons”, He questioned.
He added that “in the face of such serious events as the execution of girls, (CODEHUPY) speaks of confrontation without providing what elements they have had in their investigation – other than the position of the Joint Task Force – to say that there was ”.
“One really hopes that in the opportunity to carry out such an important mission there will be an attitude that could help to clarify the situation of the girls and also the role of the state in the search for Carmen Elizabeth. Little helps a human rights organization that takes the position of the State ”.