Learn more about specific causes in Paraguay that you can get involved in.
EnvironmentDeforestation is a pressing environmental concern in Paraguay. Forests have been cleared so that land may be used for agriculture and urban development, but in the process Paraguay has lost precious natural resources and biodiversity.1 Paraguay consistently loses over 100,000 hectares per year due to subsistence farming and ranching.2 The country relies completely on hydropower for electricity.3 Additionally, Paraguay is one of only two landlocked countries in South America.4
FamilyNearly 20% of women in Paraguay ages 15 to 44 living with spouses or partners experience physical violence, and over 7% report sexual violence. Additionally, 78,000 women in the country between the ages of 15 and 44 were raped in one year alone.1 Inefficiency in the judicial system makes it difficult for abused women to receive proper protection and justice.2 Child marriage is also a problem in the country, with 18% of girls married before age 18.3
Human RightsThe largest human rights violations in Paraguay are related to institutional corruption and the rights of minority or indigenous groups. The Paraguayan justice system is tainted by corruption and its impartiality is frequently questioned when high ranking officials guilty of crimes rarely receive punishment for wrongdoing. The land rights of low-income and indigenous populations have not been respected, as hundreds have been forced from their homes to make room for power plant construction.1 Domestic abuse is a rampant concern in Paraguay. Nearly 20% of women in Paraguay ages 15 to 44 living with spouses or partners experience physical violence and over 7% report sexual violence.2
EducationOver 50% of children in Paraguay do not complete secondary education, and the country has one of the lowest secondary school attendance rates in Latin America.1 Approximately 10% of Paraguayan students, mainly those in rural areas, do not have access to educational facilities or any way of attaining formal education.2
PovertyApproximately 22% of the population of Paraguayans live below the poverty line, but nearly half of the population will be at risk of poverty during their lifetimes.1,2 Rural areas suffer from poverty most acutely, with some rural areas experiencing poverty rates of over 50%.3 Paraguay is also one of the most food-insecure countries in Latin America, and over 25% of the population suffers from malnutrition.4
ReligionThe country of Paraguay constitutionally guarantees freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. While the country has historically been predominantly Roman-Catholic, other religions are free to practice and exercise different faiths. Roughly 90% of Paraguayans continue to identify with Catholicism. Other religions represented in the country include Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Mormons, Muslims, Buddhists, and Baha’is. There have been few reports of religious discrimination in Paraguay.1
Clean WaterOverall, roughly 98% of the population has access to improved water sources. The discrepancy is in the rural areas where 95% have clean water. Furthermore, only 88% of individuals have access to sanitation facilities.1 Rural areas are at a distinct disadvantage for access to clean water, and some rural communities have decided to manage their own water supplies. Especially during dry seasons, villages can face dangerously low amounts of water that are not sufficient to sustain their populations.2
EconomyParaguay is a market economy comprised of 17% agriculture, 27% industry, and 56% services. Subsistence agriculture employs the majority of citizens in rural areas, while many in urban areas are employed as street vendors. The country’s official poverty rate is 22% and unemployment is 6%.1 Paraguay is the world’s leading generator of renewable energy, and future economic growth depends on exports of electricity and soybeans. The Paraguayan economy is beleaguered by corruption and unequal application of the rule of law. Corruption frequently goes unpunished by the courts and authorities in Paraguay.2
HealthReforms starting in 2008 provided government subsidies to cover basic health care costs for Paraguayans, but the healthcare sector lacks necessary funding and resources to carry out universal health care measures.1 The country currently suffers from a shortage of equipped facilities, and there are only about 1,000 hospitals and clinics in all of Paraguay. The low amount of health facilities makes care inaccessible to some, especially for specialized procedures.2 Cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other non-communicable diseases remain the leading causes of death.3
ChildrenParaguay is one of the poorest countries in Latin America, with roughly 22% of the population living in poverty. Paraguay has a very young population, and 25% of the population is under the age of 14.1 Nearly 150,000 Paraguayan children grow up as orphans. Children face frequent health problems, limited educational opportunities, and are forced to become wage earners at a young age. Internal and international traffickers prey upon vulnerable children begging on the street or otherwise take advantage of those looking to help support their families.2 Additionally, child labor is widespread in the country and approximately 10% of all children ages 10 to 14 are involved in the labor force. The majority work in agriculture and the rest in services such as street vending.3 Read More Show Less
GovernmentThe Paraguayan justice system is tainted by corruption and its impartiality is frequently questioned.The rule of law is rarely upheld with efficiency, and high-ranking officials allegedly guilty of crimes rarely receive punishment for wrongdoing. Court cases are not dealt with in a timely manner, making it difficult for citizens to receive justice.1 The violation of the rights of indigenous populations by the government is of concern as well. The Paraguayan government has frequently unjustly seized lands or denied indigenous populations rights to their traditional lands.2 Corruption in the judicial and law enforcement systems make foreign investors less likely to want to be involved in businesses in Paraguay.3
AnimalsParaguay is home to a wide variety of wildlife. Some species of rare birds that were thought to be extinct were discovered in the Chaco forest region as recently as the 1970s. Other species, such as parrots and macaws, are endangered because of illegal trade. Armadillos, snakes, and iguanas are also at risk because of the trade value of their skins.1
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