Amnesty International Report 2014/15 - The State of the World's Human Rights - Argentina

Argentine Republic
Head of state and government: Cristina Fernández de Kirchner

Women continued to face obstacles to accessing legal abortions. Discrimination against Indigenous Peoples remained a concern. Courts held trials for crimes committed during the military dictatorship. Reports of torture were not investigated.


In December 2013, the police went on strike over pay sparking violence and looting around the country. At least 18 people were killed. The violence spread across many of the 23 provinces; hundreds of people were injured and thousands of businesses damaged.

Under the Universal Jurisdiction Principle, the justice system also investigated crimes against humanity committed during the Spanish Civil War and the Franco era (1936 to 1975). In April, the Spanish Court of Justice rejected petitions to extradite two former security agents to Argentina.

Also in April, in Tucumán Province, 10 defendants accused of the kidnapping and forced prostitution of Marita Verón in 2002 had their acquittals revoked and were sentenced to prison terms.

Women´s rights

More than half of jurisdictions did not have protocols in place for hospitals to guarantee access to abortions, which were legal if the pregnancy resulted from sexual abuse or put the woman´s life or health at risk. In March, the Supreme Court rejected the motion for a public hearing to evaluate the necessary measures to effectively enforce its March 2012 sentence, which dispelled any doubts about the legality of abortions.

In April, the authorities of a hospital in Moreno, Buenos Aires Province, denied a 13-year-old girl an abortion whose pregnancy was the result of rape, due to her gestation of 23 weeks and health, despite neither the World Health Organization nor international norms specifying terms for access to this right. The abortion was finally carried out in a private facility.1

Indigenous Peoples’ rights

Although the National Constitution recognized Indigenous Peoples’ rights to ancestral land and to participation in natural resource management, these rights were rarely fulfilled. In April, the La Primavera community (Potae Napocna Navogoh) in the Formosa Province rejected the land demarcation process, claiming that the provincial and national government had not respected their rights to consultation and free, prior and informed consent. At the same time, authorities were using the judicial system to prosecute individuals fighting for their rights. The leader of La Primavera, Félix Díaz, was tried in May for the theft of two police weapons during a 2010 community protest; he denied the allegations. Indigenous communities also faced violence at the hand of civilians; perpetrators were not brought to justice.

In March, the Comunidad India Quilmes, an Indigenous community in the northwest of the country, was attacked with firearms, bats and chains. Armed intruders assaulted and shot at the villagers and took over the community‘s holy site called “ciudad sagrada”. Seven residents were injured. The community was trying to reclaim their sacred land through the national judicial system. At the end of the year, no one had been prosecuted for the usurpation. Investigations into the attacks were under way.

Transitional justice

Throughout the country, courts conducted public trials for crimes against humanity committed under the military rule from 1976 to 1983. In Buenos Aires, 22 accused were prosecuted for their alleged involvement in the Plan Condor, an agreement between the military governments of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay to eliminate their political opponents.

Also, trials were held for more than 100 defendants accused of crimes committed in the clandestine detention and torture centres in the School of Navy Mechanics in Buenos Aires, and La Perla in Córdoba, among others.


18 July marked the 20th anniversary of the attack against the building of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association in Buenos Aires, which left 85 people dead. The government failed to provide justice and reparation to the victims. Iran refused to comply with an Argentine court order which called for the capture of five suspects. In 2013, the Argentine and Iranian governments signed an agreement to interrogate these suspects in Tehran, but the accord did not take effect. In Argentina, high-ranking officials, including former president Carlos Menem, were tried for diverting the investigation. The public trial was pending at the end of the year.

Torture and other ill-treatment

In April, the government regulated the National System for the Prevention of Torture but failed to create a National Committee, which should have been integrated with legislators, government officials and civil society organization representatives. The Committee’s functions would include visiting detention centres and establishing criteria for the use of force, control of overpopulation and transfer regulations.

Allegations of torture and other ill-treatment were not investigated, as in the cases of prisoners Marcelo Tello and Iván Bressan, imprisoned in the province of Santiago del Estero.2

In Mendoza, there were recurring reports of torture but no one was brought to justice. A number of jails were overcrowded and some prisoners were kept in isolation for more than 20 hours a day.3

  1. Argentina: Deben investigarse denuncias de tortura en Santiago del Estero
  2. Argentina: La provincia de Mendoza tiene la obligación de investigar las denuncia de tortura en las cárceles
  3. Argentina: El acceso al aborto no punible debe ser garantizado en la provincia de Buenos Aires y entodo el país