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  • Police officers take aim at demonstrators during pension reform protests in Argentina on December 18.

    Police officers take aim at demonstrators during pension reform protests in Argentina on December 18. | Photo: Reuters

Published 23 December 2017

"For the first time we exceeded the one dead per day mark related to trigger-happy or torture incidents," the report warns.

Argentina is "going through the most violent repressive peak since 1983," warns a new report authored by Maria del Carmen Verdu, of The Coordinator Against Police and Institutional Repression (Correpi). 

RELATED: 
'Political Violence Unethical': Argentinian Culture Minister

Verdu recognizes that 1989 and 2001, years marked by economic crisis, were "tough moments," but she asserts that the current escalation in state repression is unprecedented.

"For the first time we exceded the one dead per day mark related to trigger-happy or torture incidents," the report warns. Verdu also clarified that the toll could ultimately increase because it takes time to register and confirm victims.  

The report was published just days after Argentina's security forces unleashed more force against demonstrators opposing President Mauricio Macri's pension reforms. The reforms were finally approved by Congress on December 19 despite five days of protests and security missions. 

During the violence, 70 people were arrested and 160 people injured – among them 26 journalists and teacher Daniel Sandoval, who lost his right eye after being shot with a rubber bullet.

State repression is nothing new in Argentina. In August, Argentine artist Santiago Maldonado disappeared after confrontations broke out between federal security forces and Mapuche activists resisting eviction from land claimed by Benetton.

The body of Maldonado, a fine-arts graduate and backpacker who stood in solidarity with the Mapuches, was found 11 weeks later in a river that had previously been trawled four times without positive results.

In November, state repression claimed a second life: Rafael Nahuel, a 22-year-old Mapuche who was shot and killed during a security operative in Baricloche. So far, no one has been convicted in connection with either death.     

The latest wave of repession against social movements, union workers, and retirees demanding their rights adds one more episode to what seems to be state policy. 

On Wednesday, Culture Minister Pablo Avelluto, warned that it was irresponsible to "flirt with violence," especially given Argentina's history of military dictatorship and human-rights violations. 

Likewise, the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights said on Friday that the security operative against demostrators had been "inadequate" and "disproportionate," calling on Argentina "to investigate police conduct during those demonstrations in a speedy and exhaustive manner to establish sanctions."

Questioned about the violent actions by security forces, Macri has repeatedly defended the police: "I hope we take care of our policemen."

Human rights seem to be under attack in other institutions as well. Today, the Ministry of Defense confirmed they have fired 70 people, dismantling the Human Rights Department responsible for registering and systematizing dictatorship-era archives being used as evidence in cases of crimes against humanity. 

 

     

 


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