1. The Committee examined the third periodic report of Argentina (CCPR/C/ARG/98/3)
at its 1883rd and 1884th meetings (CCPR/C/SR.1883 and 1884) held on
25 and 26 October 2000. At its 1893rd meeting (CCPR/C/SR.1893), on 1
November 2000, the Committee adopted the following concluding observations.
2. The Committee welcomes the frank and constructive explanation given
by the delegation of measures undertaken by the State party since the
presentation of its second periodic report to ensure respect for the
rights guaranteed by the Covenant. It also appreciates the additional
information provided orally by the delegation during the examination
of the report and in response to members' questions.
3. The Committee
observes that the federal system of government in the State party entails
provincial involvement in the implementation of many of the rights provided
for in the Covenant, and that it therefore requires additional information
on the laws and measures undertaken at the provincial level in order
to assess progress in ensuring Covenant rights, in accordance with article
50 of the Covenant.
B. Positive aspects
4. The Committee welcomes the consolidation of democratic processes
and measures taken to promote national reconciliation following the
years of military rule when many basic human rights were flagrantly
violated. In this regard, the Committee notes with satisfaction the
operation of a number of institutions and programmes designed to serve
as a channel of redress for victims of past abuses, including the Historical
Reparation Programme, the National Commission on the Disappearance of
Persons and the National Commission for the Right to an Identity. The
Committee also appreciates the efforts being made to provide financial
and other compensation to victims of arbitrary detention and the families
of persons who died or disappeared under the military regime.
5. The Committee
welcomes recent developments in which some of those responsible for
the most serious violations of human rights, including forced disappearances,
torture and removal of children from their parents for purposes of illegal
adoption or trafficking, are being brought to trial. It particularly
welcomes the establishment of a mechanism, without time restriction
on its activities, to restore the identities of children who were forcibly
removed from their families.
6. The Committee
is pleased to note the recent reforms enacted to promote the independence
of the judiciary, particularly the creation of a competitive selection
process for judges.
7. The Committee
also notes with satisfaction the advances made in the protection of
the rights of the indigenous peoples, the devolution of national and
provincial land to indigenous communities through the National Registry
of Indigenous Communities, and the promotion of multicultural and multilingual
C. Principal subjects of concern and recommendations
8. The Committee is concerned at the continuing uncertainty over the
status of Covenant rights in national law. Despite assurances that the
Covenant has constitutional status and is therefore directly invocable
in courts, the Committee notes that it has been further described by
the State party as being applied in a manner which is "complementary"
to the Constitution, without further precision concerning that term.
It also notes that the federal system of government confers upon the
provinces responsibilities in critical areas, such as the administration
of justice, which has resulted in uneven application of the Covenant
in different areas of the State party's territory.
recalling the responsibility of the State party itself with regard to
the implementation of obligations under the Covenant, recommends that
the status of Covenant rights be clarified in the fourth periodic report,
including any specific examples of cases where Covenant rights have
been invoked in the courts. The next report should also contain information
on the legal and other measures taken to implement the Covenant at the
provincial level to ensure that all persons are able to enjoy their
rights throughout the territory of the State party.
positive measures taken recently to overcome past injustices, including
the repeal in 1998 of the Law of Due Obedience and the Punto Final
Law, the Committee is concerned that many persons whose actions were
covered by these laws continue to serve in the military or in public
office, with some having enjoyed promotions in the ensuing years. It
therefore reiterates its concern at the atmosphere of impunity
for those responsible for gross human rights violations under military
of civil and political rights during military rule should be prosecutable
for as long as necessary, with applicability as far back in time as
necessary to bring their perpetrators to justice. The Committee recommends
that rigorous efforts continue to be made in this area and that measures
be taken to ensure that persons involved in gross human rights violations
are removed from military or public service.
10. In light
of articles 9 and 14 of the Covenant, the Committee reiterates its deep
concern at the failure of the State party fully to ensure the principle
of presumption of innocence in criminal proceedings. In this respect,
the Committee considers it a matter of concern that the duration
of pre-trial detention is determined by reference to the possible
length of sentence following conviction rather than the need
to bring the detainee before the courts. It stresses in this regard
that the imposition of such detention should not be the norm but should
be resorted to only as an exceptional measure to the extent necessary
and consistent with due process of law and article 9 (3) of the Covenant.
In this regard, there should not be any offences for which pre-trial
detention is obligatory.
of the system of pre-trial detention, including the determination of
the length of detention, should be reformed in accordance with the requirements
of article 9 and the principle of presumption of innocence under article
11. The Committee
is deeply concerned that prison conditions fail to meet the requirements
of articles 7 and 10 of the Covenant. It considers the severe overcrowding
and the poor quality of basic necessities and services, including food,
clothing and medical care, to be incompatible with the right to be treated
with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human
person to which all persons are entitled. It has been established, in
addition, that there are abuses of authority by prison officials, such
as torture and ill-treatment, and corruption.
the plans under way to construct new prison facilities, the Committee
recommends that immediate attention be paid to the need to provide adequately
for the basic necessities of all persons deprived of their liberty.
With respect to complaints of ill-treatment or torture, it recommends
that the State party include in its next report detailed information
on the number of complaints received, including the recourse procedures
that are available to complainants, the outcome of complaints to date,
the type of disciplinary or punitive measures imposed on those found
guilty of these practices, and the specific responsibilities of all
relevant government bodies at federal and provincial levels.
in relation to article 7 of the Covenant, the Committee regrets that
questions of torture and excessive use of force by police officials
were not adequately dealt with in the present report. The Committee
is concerned at allegations it has received indicating that this is
a widespread problem and that government mechanisms established to address
it are inadequate.
recommends that the State party include in its next report detailed
information on the number of complaints received of torture and ill-treatment
by the police, including the recourse procedures and remedies that are
available to complainants, the outcomes of such complaints, the type
of disciplinary or punitive measures imposed on those found guilty of
these practices, and the specific responsibilities of all relevant government
bodies at federal and provincial levels.
13. The Committee
expresses concern over continuing attacks on human rights defenders,
judges, complainants, representatives of human rights organizations
and members of the media. In addition, persons who participate in peaceful
demonstrations are reportedly subject to detention and penal action.
against human rights defenders and persons participating in peaceful
demonstrations should be promptly investigated and the perpetrators
disciplined or punished as required. The State party should provide
details in its next report on the results of such investigations and
the procedures involved in disciplining or punishing offenders.
14. On the
issue of reproductive health rights, the Committee is concerned that
the criminalization of abortion deters medical professionals from providing
this procedure without judicial order, even when they are permitted
to do so by law, inter alia when there are clear health risks
for the mother or when pregnancy results from rape of mentally disabled
women. The Committee also expresses concern over discriminatory aspects
of the laws and policies in force, which result in disproportionate
resort to illegal, unsafe abortions by poor and rural women.
recommends that the State party take measures to give effect to the
Reproductive Health and Responsible Procreation Act of July 2000, by
which family planning counselling and contraceptives are to be provided,
in order to grant women real alternatives. It further recommends that
the laws and policies with regard to family planning be reviewed on
a regular basis. Women should be given access to family planning methods
and sterilization procedures; and in cases where abortion procedures
may lawfully be performed, all obstacles to obtaining them should be
removed. Argentine law should be amended to permit abortions in all
cases of pregnancy resulting from rape.
15. With regard
to article 3 of the Covenant, the Committee is concerned that despite
significant advances, traditional attitudes towards women continue to
exercise a negative influence on their enjoyment of Covenant rights.
The Committee is particularly concerned at the high incidence of violence
against women, including rape and domestic violence. Sexual harassment
and other manifestations of discrimination in both the public and private
sectors are also a matter of concern. The Committee notes as well that
information on these matters is not systematically maintained, that
women have a low awareness of their rights and the remedies available
to them, and that complaints are not being adequately dealt with.
recommends that a large-scale information campaign be undertaken to
promote awareness among women of their rights and the remedies available
to them. It urges that reliable data be systematically collected and
maintained on the incidence of violence and discrimination against women
in all their forms, and provided in the next periodic report.
16. The Committee
reiterates its concern that the preferential treatment, including financial
subsidies, accorded to the Catholic Church over other religious denominations
constitutes religious discrimination under article 26 of the Covenant.
17. The Committee
requests that the fourth periodic report be submitted by 31 October
2005. It also requests that appropriate disaggregated statistics on
major areas of concern be provided in the report. The Committee further
requests that the present concluding observations and the next periodic
report be widely disseminated among the public, including civil society
and non-governmental organizations operating in the State party.