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Cablegate: Human Rights Day Message Reaches Millions of Argentines

VZCZCXRO2400
PP RUEHAO RUEHCD RUEHGA RUEHGD RUEHGR RUEHHA RUEHHO RUEHMC RUEHMT
RUEHNG RUEHNL RUEHQU RUEHRD RUEHRG RUEHRS RUEHTM RUEHVC
DE RUEHBU #1705/01 3521709
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 171709Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 2701
INFO RUEHWH/WESTERN HEMISPHERIC AFFAIRS DIPL POSTS
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BUENOS AIRES 001705

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

STATE FOR WHA/PDA: JDICKSON; WHA/PDA: CPETERSON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM KDEM OEXC OIIP SCUL KPAO PGOV PREL AR
SUBJECT: Human Rights Day Message Reaches Millions of Argentines

Ref: Buenos Aires 837

BUENOS AIR 00001705 001.2 OF 002


1. (U) SUMMARY: Embassy Buenos Aires used the observance of Human
Rights Day on December 10 to reach tens of thousands of Argentines
on the importance of respecting human rights both here in Argentina
and throughout the world. Post co-hosted a human rights recognition
ceremony with the GOA's National Anti-Discrimination Institute
(INADI), sponsored GWU professor Allida Black to discuss the
formation of the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the human
rights challenges facing the incoming Obama administration, and
placed an op-ed in daily-of-record La Nacion. Post's efforts to
mark the 60th anniversary of the declaration and hail the 25th
anniversary of the return to democracy in Argentina have helped to
underscore our commitment to the defense of human rights to an
audience that has long been skeptical of our intentions.
Coincidentally, this December 10 marked the 25th anniversary of
uninterrupted democracy in Argentina. END SUMMARY.

Joint Human Rights Event with the Government
--------------------------------------------

2. (U) In May, the Ambassador met with Maria Jose Lubertino, the
President of GOA's National Anti-Discrimination Institute (INADI),
an Argentine government agency we have been very interested in
supporting. Lubertino and the Ambassador discussed the possibility
of co-sponsoring a joint event to honor ex-First Lady Eleanor
Roosevelt's role in drafting and ratifying the Universal Declaration
on Human Rights (reftel). Since then, Post has worked with INADI to
organize the event, sponsoring the visit of Professor Allida Black,
Project Director and Editor of George Washington University's
"Eleanor Roosevelt Papers," a project designed to preserve, teach
and apply Eleanor Roosevelt's writings and discussions of human
rights and democracy.

3. (U) On December 9, Post co-hosted an award event with INADI at
the Ambassador's residence. The event commemorated the 60th
anniversary of the UN's adoption of the Universal Declaration of
Human Rights, and highlighted -- through keynote remarks by Dr.
Black -- former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's role in the drafting
and ratification of the Declaration.

4. (U) During the event, INADI President Lubertino and the
Ambassador presented certificates of recognition to one NGO and four
women activists for their contribution to the defense and protection
of human rights. Awards were given to the men and women of the
Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) for their investigation
of human rights violations in Argentina and more than 30
conflict-torn countries throughout the world. Their efforts
(supported by over $1.4 million in ESF Democracy and Human Rights
funds) to identify the remains of human rights victims have helped
many countries, including Argentina, with their reconciliation
processes by providing closure to the victims' families. The award
was also given to Margarita Barrientos, director of a soup kitchen
in the poor neighborhood of Los Piletones, who in addition to
feeding 1,600 children and adults a day in Villa Soldati, fights to
help them gain access to education and health care. Indigenous
leader Rosario Quispe was also recognized for her efforts to develop
a sustainable microcredit system for fifty indigenous communities
that has created thousands of jobs for women. Other honorees
included Dr. Ana Belen Elgoyhen for her groundbreaking research on
hearing disorders that may one day improve the quality of life for
the hearing-impaired, and to disability rights activist Marilu
Ferreira.

Speaker Programming
-------------------

5. (U) Following the INADI event, Dr. Black spoke at the Argentine
Council on International Relations (CARI), a prestigious Argentine
foreign policy think-tank, on the "Challenges in Human Rights for
the Obama Administration." Also, Professor Black gave a talk in La
Plata, capital of Buenos Aires province, on "Eleanor Roosevelt and
the Battle to Create the Universal Declaration of Human Rights."
She was also featured in a DVC with Quito, Ecuador, and Cordoba,
Argentina, on the same topic.

Media Outreach
--------------

6. (U) In addition to these presentations, on December 10, Post
placed the Ambassador's op-ed on human rights in the prestigious
daily "La Nacion," reaching over 150,000 Argentines. The
Post-drafted op-ed, "From Roosevelt to Obama," focused on the
development of civil and human rights in the United States and
informed the Argentine public of the USD 1.4 million grant the USG
provided the EAAF to conduct a national campaign in Argentina to
obtain blood samples of relatives of those disappeared during the
military dictatorship in an effort to identify remains.


BUENOS AIR 00001705 002.2 OF 002


7. (U) Media coverage of Embassy Human Rights Day events was
substantial, reaching almost every media organization in the
country. These included Telam, a state-owned wire service agency,
ImpulsoBaires.com, Noticias.MDQ, the Mar del Plata online newspaper,
Portal La Plata, Yahoo Noticias, La Voz.com, El Argentino.com,
Terra.com, and InfoBae.com. Dr. Black was also interviewed by
leading newspaper Clarin and the pro-government daily Pagina 12.
Clarin plans to run a two-page article on Dr. Black and the human
rights issues facing the Obama administration on Inauguration Day,
January 20, 2009.

Comment: Addressing a Neuralgic Issue Head-on
---------------------------------------------

8. (SBU) Engaging with Argentines on human rights can be complicated
by the wariness with which many of them view the role of U.S.
"support" for the military dictatorship from 1976-83, when an
estimated 10,000-30,000 armed guerrillas, political dissidents,
sympathizers, and others were killed or disappeared. The fact that
INADI, an Argentine government agency dedicated to the advancement
of civil rights, approached the USG to carry out a joint activity to
commemorate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a positive
and welcome gesture. Post's efforts to mark the 60th anniversary of
the declaration and hail the 25th anniversary of the return to
democracy in Argentina have helped to underscore our commitment to
the defense of human rights to a historically skeptical audience.

WAYNE
081201 social outreach cable draft

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