Annual Report: Argentina 2011

May 28, 2011

Annual Report: Argentina 2011

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  • On 20 April, Reynaldo Bignone, a former military general and former de facto President, was found guilty of torture, murder and several kidnappings that occurred while he was commander of the notorious Campo de Mayo detention centre between 1976 and 1978.
  • In July, former General Luciano Benjamín Menéndez and Roberto Albornoz, former head of the intelligence police, were sentenced to life imprisonment for human rights violations committed at a secret detention centre in Tucumán province during the military regime (1976-1983).
  • In December, Jorge Videla, de facto President of Argentina between 1976 and 1981, was found criminally responsible for the torture and deaths of over 30 prisoners in Córdoba in 1976. The court found a further 22 military and police officers guilty of these crimes.

Indigenous Peoples' rights

Concerns remained at the failure to implement the 2006 national emergency law which temporarily suspends the execution of eviction orders or the removal of Indigenous communities from traditional lands until an appropriate nationwide survey has been carried out.

  • In November, 400 police officers violently dispersed members of the Toba Qom Indigenous community who had mounted a roadblock in protest at plans to build a university on traditional lands. The police also burned down the community's temporary homes. At least one police officer and one member of the Indigenous community were killed.

Right to health - land and environment

An NGO report published in early 2010 identified 120 land-ownership and environment-related conflicts in the Chaco area of northern Argentina, affecting over half a million people, mainly from peasant and Indigenous communities.

Despite growing evidence of the negative impact on health of chemicals used on soya and rice plantations in several northern provinces, by the end of the year no systematic epidemiological study or investigation had been initiated to evaluate the extent and gravity of the problem.

International justice

In September, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in favour of the extradition of Sergio Galvarino Apablaza Guerra to Chile where he faced charges in connection with the murder of Senator Jaime Guzmán and the kidnapping of Cristián Edwards in 1991. However, in October, a federal judge closed the case for his extradition after the National Commission for Refugees granted him refugee status.