Paraguay Rule of Law Assessment
In 2018, Democracy International conducted a Rule of Law Assessment in Paraguay for USAID/Paraguay as part of its ongoing work with the American Institutes for Research under the Youth Violence Prevention project. The assessment focused on serious corruption and impunity issues, which are undermining the rule of law and have become the focus of citizens’ dissatisfaction with Paraguay’s democratic and political institutions. In partnership with the American Institutes for Research, DI identified key justice-related challenges and opportunities in Paraguay and proposed strategic recommendations for USAID and other USG agencies. Because DI carried out fieldwork during the campaign season, which preceded national elections on April 22, DI was able to include analysis of the election results and their significance for justice sector reform in the broader context.
The assessment identified several aspects that, if addressed, could improve the capacity of USAID to improve its support for rule of law programming and approaches in Paraguay. First, USAID/Paraguay faces significant resource limitations to future programming, which requires careful priority setting to match new investments against anticipated outcomes. Another barrier is a lack of political will in the government, hindering serious judicial reforms. The assessment also revealed that both the media and Catholic Church play influential roles and would make valuable allies in any judicial reform process supported by USAID. Lastly, the assessment concluded that to overcome challenges related to political will, transformational programming should emphasize the importance of supporting civil societybased advocacy rather than institutional strengthening.
Photo Credit: “flag: our beloved flag” by Tetsumo is licensed under CC BY2.0