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Amnesty Sends A Delegation To Argentina

Argentina: Amnesty International Sends A Delegation To Argentina

* News Release Issued by the International Secretariat of Amnesty International *

11 February 2002
AMR 13/001/2002
25/02

At this time when Argentina is ravaged by social tension and economic uncertainty, Amnesty International will visit the country to present its human rights concerns to the government of President Eduardo Duhalde and to propose that a National Human Rights Action Program be adopted.

“The political will of the new government will be crucial in addressing the human rights challenges that face Argentina,” the organization, which has requested meetings with the President and cabinet ministers, said. “It is essential at this time that the government gives a clear signal that protecting the rights of all Argentinians will be one of the priorities in its program.”

In the face of the current difficult economic circumstances, Amnesty International is urging the Argentinian authorities, when drawing up its economic policies for the future, to take into consideration the rights enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which Argentina is a party, including the right to work, to an adequate standard of living, education and health.

“Human rights are indivisible and interdependent and must be respected in their entirety, even in the most critical situations,” the organization emphasized.

Although international attention is focused mainly on the economic situation, Amnesty International stressed that its concerns go beyond it and include issues that have been ongoing for several years, such as the excessive use of force by the security forces, torture, harassment of victims, witnesses and human rights defenders, and the heavy legacy of the human rights violations committed in the past, most of which remain unpunished.

In recent months, Amnesty International has repeatedly expressed its concern at the conduct of the security forces during the demonstrations that have taken place in several parts of the country and in which many demonstrators have suffered death or injury.

“It is vital that all reports of excessive use of force by state officials be investigated quickly, wholly and impartially, that those involved are suspended from duty and brought to justice, and that the victims receive appropriate compensation,” the organization said, while urging the Argentinian authorities to reassert control over the security forces and ensure that human rights violations committed by them do not go unpunished.

Amnesty International is also concerned about the lack of effective action by the Argentinian authorities to eradicate torture and ill-treatment which, according to reports received by the organization, are widely used in the course of police investigations and when dealing with detainees.

“Torture should be a thing of the past, a stage which should have been overcome during the last 19 years of democratic government, but unfortunately that is not the case: today in Argentinian prisons and police stations detainees and suspected criminals are still being tortured and ill-treated and there has been a worrying number of cases, including Adeaths in custody@,” the organization indicated.

“In order to guarantee human rights for all Argentinians in the future, it is essential to bring the truth to light and ensure that justice is done with regard to the very serious human rights violations committed in the past,” Amnesty International added. AThe new government must show that it is firmly commited to investigating those violations, clarifying the fate of the thousands of people who >disappeared= during the years of military rule and whose relatives suffer the daily torture of not knowing the truth, and bringing those responsible to justice.”

“To combat the impunity surrounding these violations, it is imperative that the Full Stop and Due Obedience Laws are rescinded once and for all,” Amnesty International urged, saying that it considers the decision of federal judge Gabriel Cavallo in one disappearance case to declare the two laws unconstitutional and null and void to be a Afirst step@ in that direction. “Measures must also be taken to protect witnesses, judges, lawyers and human rights defenders involved in the struggle against impunity.”

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