The constitution and laws provide for freedom of religion and the right to profess one’s faith freely. The constitution provides that the government will support the Roman Catholic Church. By law, public schools are secular, but private schools run by registered religious institutions are eligible for government subsidies. The government continued its investigation into the 1994 bombing of the Argentina Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) community center. In March President Mauricio Macri told leaders attending the Plenary Assembly of the World Jewish Congress that his government was “fully committed to … mak[ing] headway” in the investigations of the AMIA attack, the 1992 terrorist bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, and the unsolved death of AMIA Special Prosecutor Alberto Nisman. The government continued to provide protection for Baptist Pastor Marcelo Nieva and his church following multiple incidents of harassment and intimidation targeting the pastor for his work against human trafficking and gender-based violence. A government official from a small city in Buenos Aires Province resigned from his position after he made a post on social media disparaging Muslims; the posting engendered widespread criticism on traditional and social media. The government initiated an education campaign in public and private schools to counter a rise in anti-Muslim sentiment, which observers attributed to public reaction to terrorist attacks in Europe and in response to the government’s announcement of its decision to accept 3,000 Syrian refugees.
In August students from the Lanus Oeste German School in Buenos Aires who were wearing swastika armbands and false Hitler mustaches instigated a fight with a group of Jewish students at a nightclub. In July a plastic bottle filled with cement was thrown through the window of the Maccabi Jewish community center in Santa Fe province. Attached to the bottle was a note threatening further violence and bearing the logo of ISIS. The Delegation of Argentine Jewish Associations (DAIA) documented 478 reported complaints of anti-Semitism in 2015, the most recent available data, an increase of 55 percent over the previous year. More than half of the incidents occurred on the internet or through social media. The group attributed the increase to more awareness and a change in reporting format.
Embassy representatives met with government representatives to discuss ways to counter anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim sentiment. The U.S. Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism met with the secretary of worship and the minister for human rights at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to discuss religious tolerance and anti-Semitism. Outreach efforts included regular meetings with religious and community leaders. The U.S. Ambassador and embassy officials actively engaged with the government, civil society groups, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to facilitate interfaith dialogue and promote religious tolerance.