SAR’s Academic Freedom Monitoring Project investigates and reports attacks on higher education with the aim of raising awareness, generating advocacy, and increasing protection for scholars, students, and academic communities. Learn more.

Date of Incident: October 13, 2014

Attack Types: Imprisonment


Region & Country:Americas | Paraguay

New or Ongoing:New Incident

On October 13, 2014 Paraguayan police reportedly arrested student leader Patricio Javier Flores, in connection with his involvement in an October 2, 2014 demonstration at the Paraguayan Ministry of Education, during which protesters demanded increased funding for schools.  He was charged with disturbing public order.
Flores, a Chilean national who is active in that country’s student movement, was reportedly placed in custody by armed men dressed in civilian clothes who did not identify themselves as officers, placed in an unmarked vehicle, and taken to a local police station.  There, Flores has reported that he was questioned without an attorney present about his involvement with Paraguay’s National Federation of Secondary Students (known as Fenaes), and about his connections to an official in Paraguay’s former government.  Flores was later placed under house arrest at the Chilean embassy in Asuncion, Paraguay, where he remains as of this report. 
Scholars at Risk is concerned about arbitrary arrest and detention of student activists in retaliation for their peaceful exercise of the right to free expression and association – conduct which is expressly protected under international human rights instruments including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  State authorities have a responsibility not to interfere with the exercise of such rights, so long as they are undertaken peacefully and responsibly.  In addition to the harm to the immediate victims, state actions limiting the rights to free expression or association have a chilling effect on academic freedom and university autonomy, and undermine democratic society generally.