Diakonia - People change the world


Diakonia supports the efforts of civil society to transform their reality through the defense of human rights. We work on all levels of society, in particular with the most vulnerable sectors, but also with the more strategic ones towards a positive transformation.

9/24/2013 Publisher: Juan Carlos Yuste

Inequitable land distribution

Paraguay is a large country with a small population, where half of the people live in rural areas. In fact, Paraguay is the country with the most inequitable land distribution in the world, with one per cent of its landowners owning 77 per cent of the productive land. This is one of the main sources of inequality and it results in nearly four out of ten inhabitants living under the poverty line.

Soya monocultures danger the environment

Paraguay is also the fourth largest producer of soya in the world. This monoculture destroys the environment, concentrates wealth, threatens people's health, eliminates the diversity of native plants and displaces peasant and indigenous populations. 

Considering Paraguay's unequal land distribution and monoculture agrarian model, Diakonia focuses on strengthening peasant and indigenous organizations, and especially women, in order to improve the quality of life through the promotion of land reform and sustainable development models.

Examples from our work

Together with our partner organizations, Diakonia has been able to contribute to progress made in several areas. These include for instance the defence of the human rights of leaders, dissemination of democratic shortcomings in Paraguay, the increased participation and leadership of women within the indigenous movement and the recuperation of land for indigenous communities.

A history of dictatorships

Another important factor for understanding Paraguay is the history of dictatorships promoting an authoritarian culture and committing systematic human rights violations towards large parts of society. This historic disregard for human rights that continues today means that Diakonia and its partners dedicate a lot of effort to defend people and groups whose human rights have been violated. We support efforts towards a culture that respects human rights. One example is the strong commitment with the Truth and Justice Commission, its dissemination in all sectors of society and the creation of memorial sites, in order to educate the new generations on recent history.

Movie: No more dictatorships

As a part of supporting the Truth and Justice Commission, we invited young students to make movies about the Stroessner dictatorship. This was the starting point in getting to know a part of Paraguay's history that children  heard very little about before. Learn more about how Diakonia supports the Truth and Justice Commission in Paraguay by watching this movie:

Read more about our work in Paraguay

  • “No democracy without equal rights for everyone”

    As a transsexual person in Paraguay, Yren Rotela was so vulnerable that she saw prostitution as a route to survival. Today, she has left that life behind and has been commended for her work on preventing other...
  • Indigenous people regain their land

    Tierra Viva in Paraguay works to ensure that indigenous peoples obtain the right to their land, culture and traditions. Tierra Viva has won all the cases it has taken to court so far!
  • Victory for the Sawhoyamaxa in Paraguay

    On 24 April the Paraguay senate voted for a bill that meant returning to the Sawhoyamaxa the land they were expelled from over twenty years ago. The judgement is also a victory for Diakonia and our partner...