Amnesty International Report 2012 - The State of the World's Human Rights

Head of state and government
Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
Death penalty
abolitionist for all crimes
40.8 million
Life expectancy
75.9 years
Under-5 mortality
14.1 per 1,000
Adult literacy
97.7 per cent

Investigations and prosecutions of human rights violations committed during the years of military rule made significant progress. Indigenous Peoples were threatened with eviction from their traditional lands. Access to legal abortion remained difficult.


President Cristina Fernández was re-elected in October. The ruling party was set to control both houses of Congress for the next two years.

In April, the crime of enforced disappearance was incorporated into the Criminal Code, in line with a recommendation by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights in the case of Iván Eladio Torres Millacura who disappeared in 2003.

In October, Argentina ratified the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Following her visit to Argentina in April, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing expressed concern about the increasing number of violent evictions affecting residents of informal settlements, peasants and Indigenous Peoples.

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Indigenous Peoples’ rights

Indigenous communities continued to be threatened with eviction, despite a blanket ban on such evictions until November 2013 pending completion of a nationwide survey of Indigenous territories. Following his visit to Argentina in November, the UN Special Rapporteur on indigenous people expressed his concern about the number of forced evictions, the failure to put in place real protection of rights to land ownership, and the need for a mechanism to consult communities on projects that affect them.

  • In May, five months of protest in the centre of Buenos Aires came to an end when the national government finally met the Toba Qom Indigenous community of La Primavera, Formosa province. The government agreed to guarantee the community’s safety and initiate a dialogue to discuss land and other community rights. However, the family of community leader Félix Díaz continued to be threatened and harassed. Félix Díaz faced charges in connection with the violent dispersal by police of a roadblock mounted by the community in November 2010 in which two people, one a police officer, died.
  • In November, Cristian Ferreyra, leader of the Lule Vilela Indigenous community of San Antonio, Santiago del Estero province, was shot dead. He was involved in defending the community’s traditional land from deforestation and the expansion of soya plantations.
  • In August a court in Tucumán province ordered the suspension of attempts to evict the Quilmes Indigenous community of Colalao del Valle pending the conclusion of proceedings to determine the ownership of the property where the community was living. The community had faced continual threats of eviction.
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Justice and impunity

Significant progress was made in securing the conviction of those responsible for grave human rights violations under military rule (1976-1983).

  • In October, former navy captain Alfredo Astiz and 15 others were given prison sentences of between 18 years and life for their role in 86 crimes against humanity committed at a secret detention centre in a Buenos Aires naval school (Escuela Superior de Mecánica de la Armada, ESMA). Under military rule, hundreds of people were held in the ESMA after being abducted; some were killed under torture while others were flung to their deaths from aeroplanes.
  • In April, former military general Reynaldo Bignone and politician and former police officer Luis Abelardo Patti were sentenced to life imprisonment for several cases of murder, abduction and torture in the town of Escobar during the 1970s.
  • In May, eight former soldiers were sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1976 Margarita Belén massacre in Chaco province in which 22 political prisoners were tortured and executed.
  • In May, former generals Luciano Benjamín Menéndez and Antonio Domingo Bussi, as senior commanders, were judged to have been direct participants in gender-based violence against women held at the Villa Urquiza secret detention centre, Tucumán province, in the 1970s, and in the aggravated and repeated rape of a 19-year-old woman. Antonio Domingo Bussi died in November while under house arrest.
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Torture and other ill-treatment

In February, mobile phone images of the torture in 2010 of two prisoners by prison guards in San Felipe prison, Mendoza province, came to light. Prisoners Matías Tello and Andrés Yacante, who were suspected by prison officers of involvement in circulating the images, received threats and were transferred to Almafuerte prison where they alleged that they were tortured. By the end of the year nobody had been brought to justice.

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Sexual and reproductive rights

Women continued to face difficulties in accessing legal abortions.

  • In April, the UN Human Rights Committee ruled against Argentina for impeding access to a legal abortion for a 19-year-old woman with a mental disability who was raped by her uncle in 2006. The Committee found that the state’s failure to guarantee her right to terminate her pregnancy caused her physical and moral pain and ordered Argentina to pay damages and to take measures to prevent similar violations in the future.
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Excessive use of force

Police used excessive force during the removal in July of 700 families from a private estate in Libertador San Martín, Jujuy province. Four people, including a policeman, were killed and at least 30 injured. The police officer in charge was removed from his post and the provincial government Minister of Security and Justice resigned.

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Country Reports

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Country Visits

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Associated documents