Diakonia - People change the world


In Paraguay, we work together with our partner organization to transform Paraguayan society by defending human rights. To do so, we work at all levels of society – mainly with strengthening peasant and indigenous organizations and promoting land reform and sustainable development models.

Paraguay is a large country with a small population, with almost half the population living in rural areas. Paraguay has an uneven distribution of wealth; in fact, it is the country with the most inequitable land distribution in the world. One percent of its landowners own 77 percent 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.

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. 

Diakonia focuses on strengthening peasant and indigenous organizations, particularly women’s organizations, in order to improve quality of life by promoting land reform and sustainable development models.

Human rights as an unresolved matten

Since 1989, more than 120 peasant leaders have been killed, and the state has neither investigated nor brought those responsible to justice. Human rights’ defenders are being delegitimised and stigmatised, with the purpose of obstructing their work. Human rights have still not become an integral part of public institutions in Paraguay.

Gender equality: a long and winding road

With a strong patriarchal culture, there is great gender inequality. This ranges from the absence of women as political leaders to the limited access to sexual and reproductive rights, especially for young women living in the countryside. Although the constitution states that discrimination is illegal, there are no laws or mechanisms that regulate cases of discrimination, especially not those involving lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender and intersex persons.

Armed conflict: a spiral of violence

The northern part of Paraguay is a poor and neglected zone. In the last few years, there has been an increase in the number of guerrillas, in addition to armed actors such as narcotics organizations and private security forces belonging to different landowners. In response, the state has militarised four departments, which has resulted in increased violence. Impoverished peasants are subjected to violence, and their human rights are constantly being violated. It is necessary to support actors to dismantle this spiral of violence and build a future with social justice and peace.

Read more about our work in Paraguay

  • Political participation created locally

    Political participation in Paraguay among indigenous peoples has been low due to discrimination and exclusion. “Many of those we work with had never had identity documents, which made active participation...
  • “We no longer have anything to lose”

    They live in constant fear of being driven out of their homes. Despite winning back parts of the land taken away from them, the future is still uncertain for the inhabitants of Guahory, Paraguay. And the fear...
  • “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!