Head of state and government Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
Women pregnant as a result of rape continued to face obstacles in accessing legal abortions, despite a Supreme Court ruling affirming this right. Indigenous Peoples’ land rights remained unfulfilled. Trials to end impunity for human rights violations committed during the military regime (1976-83) continued.
In October, Argentina’s human rights record was examined under the UN Universal Periodic Review. Recommendations were made on issues including sexual and reproductive rights, Indigenous Peoples’ rights, freedom from torture and migrants’ rights.
Investigations in Argentina based on universal jurisdiction continued during the year into crimes committed in Spain between 1936 and 1977 – including the period of the Spanish Civil War and the Franco regime.
In May, a law was passed allowing people to change their names and sexes on official documents without the approval of a judge or doctor. This was an important step towards the recognition of the rights of transsexual people.
Indigenous Peoples’ rights
In July, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples published a report expressing concerns about issues including the lack of measures to protect Indigenous Peoples’ rights to their lands and natural resources. The report also highlighted the failure to comply with Emergency Law 26.160 which prohibits the eviction of Indigenous communities pending a nationwide survey to define Indigenous territories.
A draft law to reform the Civil Code, which included measures that affect Indigenous Peoples’ rights to their traditional lands, was before Parliament at the end of the year. Indigenous Peoples expressed concern that their views had not been sought while the law was being discussed.
- In March, the Supreme Court of Justice held a public hearing about obstacles preventing the Toba Qom community of La Primavera, Formosa province, from claiming traditional lands. In November, a Federal Court dropped the charges against Indigenous leaders Félix Díaz and Amanda Asikak in connection with a roadblock erected in 2010. The judges argued that the roadblock was the only protest measure available to them. Threats and acts of intimidation against Félix Díaz and members of his family remained a concern. In August, Félix Díaz was hit by a truck while he was on his motorbike. Witnesses said the truck belonged to the family that owns the traditional land claimed by the community. The driver fled and the accident had not been investigated by the end of the year.
In March, a Supreme Court ruling established that any woman or girl pregnant as a result of rape should have access to safe abortion without the need for judicial authorization. However, lack of compliance with the ruling in several parts of the country remained a concern. Following the Supreme Court ruling, the Parliament of Buenos Aires City passed legislation to allow legal abortions, without the requirement for judicial involvement, for rape survivors and in cases where carrying the pregnancy to term would place the woman’s life at risk. However, the law was vetted by the governor leaving Buenos Aires under previous legislation that does not comply with the Supreme Court’s decision.
- In October, a Buenos Aires court prevented a 32-year-old woman from having an abortion. She was a victim of trafficking and her pregnancy was the result of rape. A public outcry followed and the Supreme Court overturned the lower court’s decision. The woman was eventually able to access abortion services.
Concerns remained at the lack of full implementation of the legislation to prevent and punish violence against women passed in 2009, including the failure to collect reliable data.
Legislation was passed making gender-based motivation an aggravating factor in homicides.
Progress continued in securing prosecutions and convictions of those responsible for grave human rights violations under military rule (1976-1983).
- In June, former military officer Alfredo Omar Feito and former federal police officer Pedro Santiago Godoy were sentenced to 18 and 25 years’ imprisonment respectively for the torture and unlawful detention of 181 people in the clandestine detention centres of Primer Cuerpo del Ejército Atlético, Banco and Olimpo.
- Former Argentine Presidents Jorge Rafael Videla and Reynaldo Bignone were convicted in July of the systematic kidnapping of children and sentenced to 50 and 15 years’ imprisonment respectively.
- In October, three former marines were sentenced to life imprisonment in connection with the “Trelew massacre” in which 16 political prisoners were executed after an attempt to escape from a prison in Chubut province in 1972.
Torture and other ill-treatment and prison conditions
In November, the establishment of a national mechanism for the prevention of torture was approved.
In July, video footage appeared on the internet showing at least five police officers torturing two detainees in the police detention office of General Güemes, Salta province. The footage which was allegedly filmed in 2011 shows the detainees being beaten up and suffocated with a bag. Investigations into the torture remained open at the end of the year.
Amnesty International visits/reports
- Argentina: Amnesty International submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review: 14th session of the UPR working group (Index: AMR 13/003/2012)