The NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW), dedicated to the investigation and defense of Human Rights around the world, harshly question the current government Argentina due to a series of measures and positions of the management of Alberto Fernandez.
From warnings by the independence of the judiciary until the attitude of the ruling party towards the opposition press and the foreign policy with questioned nations For its lack of respect for Human Rights, the HRW annual report ruthlessly criticizes Argentina.
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PROPOSALS AGAINST THE JUDICIARY
“It is judged in the media and it is stamped in Justice”. This explosive phrase belongs to the vice president Cristina Fernndez de Kirchner and was pronounced on December 10, when the Government organized a Massive act in Plaza de Mayo to commemorate the Day of Democracy and Human Rights. Act that was criticized for its high level of politicization.
This accusation by the former president is in line with what Human Rights Watch criticizes the management of Alberto Fernandez: according to the organization Proposals to reform the Judiciary, from the Council of the Magistracy -key body in the appointment and removal of lower judges- until a wide modification of the courts throughout the country proposed by Fernández himself or changes in the Public Prosecutor’s Office with a limit to the mandate of the chief prosecutor, represent “a risk to the independence of these institutions”.
The report emphasizes that certain specialists who made up the “Council of Experts” that Alberto Fernandez I met to propose this series of reforms to the three judicial bodies – Supreme Court, Council of the Magistracy and Public Prosecutor’s Office- “had ties to officials investigated, including the attorney for Vice President Cristina Fernndez de Kirchner, whose position gives her immunity from arrest for multiple corruption charges“.
In addition, the organization also warned about “delays in the appointment of permanent judges”, with vacant positions years ago: as of September 2021 an 239 federal and national judge positions remain vacantwarns Human Rights Watch.
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CALL OF ATTENTION ON FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
In line with the other leg of the controversial phrase of the former president and current vice president, Human Rights Watch also emphasizes the position of the ruling party towards the press: “High-level authorities, including President Alberto Fernndez, have used a hostile rhetoric against independent journalists “, the report reports, assuring that the Government has accused certain media of “spreading” false news “to report on issues of public interest, such as irregularities in the distribution of vaccines against covid-19 “.
However, the creation of the Agency for Access to Public Information in 2016 in order to “ensure public access to government information and protect personal data.”
Between 2017 and August 2021 This body has responded within the legal term of one month “to the majority” of the 20,660 requests submitted, although 1,220 appeals were filed by citizens, “in most cases after the authorities did not respond before the deadline.”
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THE POOR CONDITION OF PRISONS AND ABUSES BY THE POLICE
Through the presentation of a broad series of data, Human Rights Watch targets the corrupt functioning of the prison system and abuses by the security forces, stating that “the National Penitentiary Office reported 176 alleged cases of torture or ill-treatment in federal prisons in 2020 and 77 from January to June 2021“, while the Attorney General’s Office reported on 16 violent deaths of inmates in federal jails during 2020.
In addition, he quotes the Government when recalling that “Almost half of the 11,290 detainees in federal prisons have not been convicted of any crime” and they are still awaiting a trial.
In contrast, he criticizes the policy of releasing prisoners during the pandemic due to the conditions of the prisons and their difficulty in preventing the spread of covid-19 within them, leaving a hundred convicted on parole and without “no significant reform to address pretrial detention” in sight to the day of the date.
Regarding police violence, a resounding problem during 2021 in Argentina with assassinations of young people like Lucas Gonzlez or Luciano Olivera by the security forces, Human Rights Watch denounced that “occasionally they use excessive force”, and illustrated: “In 2020, the Ombudsman reported 297 cases of violence by security agents“.
Finally, he illustrated the abuse of power with highly repressive policies applied in Formosa by its governor, Gildo Insfrn, in the face of the pandemic. The organization called these measures “abusive and unhealthy”, emphasizing the existence of “isolation” and “quarantine” centers in “circumstances amounting to arbitrary detention”.
“The authorities limited the ability of journalists to report on the situation, allegedly used excessive force against people protesting the COVID-19 rules and arrested and filed criminal charges against some“the report details.
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CONTRADICTIONS IN ARGENTINE FOREIGN POLICY
Human Rights Watch begins this section by illustrating the complicated national context, with special focus on the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the Government is negotiating to restructure the debt of $ 44 billion taken in 2018 by the former president Mauricio Macri.
The pressure of this understanding occurs within the framework of “a deep economic crisis before the pandemic, which is getting worse”. The report emphasizes that this crisis impacts mainly on the most vulnerable sectors of the country, with a 40% of individuals living below the poverty line, according to INDEC.
Within this framework, HRW turns towards contradictory trajectory of the official foreign policy: “As a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Argentina has supported UN scrutiny of rights violations in Belarus, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Nicaragua and Venezuela “, highlights the analysis, noting that in October of last year the country was re-elected as a member for the period 2022-2024.
In addition, they added that in November 2021 Argentine diplomats at the OAS (Organization of American States) they condemned the elections in Nicaragua affirming that you are “They were not free, fair or transparent, and they lacked democratic legitimacy”.
They also highlighted the nation’s position against the repression of protesters in Colombia and the fact that Argentina “organized a virtual summit on climate change in September 2021 “with representatives from different countries.
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Nevertheless, the other side of the coin is contradictory Regarding Argentine actions: although the repression in Colombia is condemned, the same was not done with the demonstrations in Cuba, when the Government wielded its principle of “no intervention in the internal affairs of states”.
In line with this same premise, HRW questioned Argentina’s foreign policy towards Venezuela and Nicaragua, which they branded as “inconsistent” due to the abstentions that the country maintained before the OAS at do not reject the Venezuelan elections in December 2020 – “widely considered fraudulent” – nor condemn the arrests of the candidates and critics of the Nicaraguan presidential oppositionHere again the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other nations was put into play.
Finally, they stressed that last year Argentina withdrew from the Lima Group, “a coalition of governments that monitor Venezuela’s poor human rights record”, as well as a request issued in 2018 to the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court – made together with Canada, Colombia, Chile, Paraguay and Peru- ” for an investigation into possible crimes against humanity committed in Venezuela“.