Amnesty Warns of 700,000 Illegal Guns in Paraguay

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Amnesty International has called on the Paraguayan government to better regulate weapons, saying that there are a million weapons in civilian hands in the country and only a third are registered.

The global human rights organization called on Paraguayan authorities to adopt policies that will cut down armed violence in the impoverished country, where registration and regulation of firearms remains scant despite escalating guerrilla attacks, large-scale marijuana production, and arms smuggling into Brazil.

Amnesty International officials stated that Paraguay is not impervious to the problem presented by the global trade of illicit firearms, ABC reports. The organization maintained that illegal guns have become an ever-present element in Paraguayan society, posing a threat to citizen security that must be addressed.

According to National Police statistics gathered last year, Paraguay saw one gun-related death daily. The country’s Directorate of Military Equipment assessment shows that of the one million arms in civilian hands, only 30 percent are registered.

InSight Crime Analysis

Paraguay is an important site for the smuggling of weapons into Brazil. The Brazilian government has indicated that the majority of entry points for weapons moved illicitly into the country are on the Paraguayan border. One driver of this is Paraguay’s lax gun regulations; arms are often smuggled into the country from Argentina and then on to Brazil.

Another factor that could be driving up the number of illegal weapons in Paraguay is the growing presence of Brazilian criminal groups. Drug gangs like Red Command (Comando Vermelho) have reportedly located themselves over the border, attracted by weaker law enforcement and by the chance to cut middlemen out of their trafficking deals.

Paraguay is also home to guerrilla group the Paraguayan People’s Army (EPP), which has launched several armed attacks on civilian as well as police targets in the last 12 months — attacks like these, in rural areas where there is little state presence, contributes to a sense of insecurity in the country.

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