May 6, 2008 The Human Rights Institute // University of Connecticut
On March 24, 2006, people in the city of Buenos Aires, like the majority of the Argentinean population, assembled in the streets. Congress declared the day an official holiday. The President delivered a speech in the Colegio Militar de la Nación (the military academy for training officers) and unveiled a plaque that read: “Never again coups and state terrorism.” In the first row was an assortment of people, ranging from the major leaders of the Madres de Plaza de Mayo to schoolchildren, sitting side-by-side with high-ranking military officers. Later, 100,000 people—carrying various banners, flags and photographs—marched in remembrance of those people who had disappeared. The occasion was the 30th anniversary of the military coup
of 1976. The weeks before that date were saturated with information concerning the military coup: exhibitions, lectures and seminars, special issues and supplements of magazines and newspapers, films and television programs, as well as statements by survivors, victims, political leaders and parties, universities, and cultural agents. Public life was consumed by the anniversary and the commemoration. However, it was not entirely a peaceful event; discord and opposition were manifest in a few street incidents, and there was even disagreement about the statement that was to be read at the most important public rally, resulting in an open conflict at the podium....
April 3, 2008 Peace Justice Conference // Crisis Management Initiative
This document aims to give an account of the presence and absence of policies on reparation, truth and justice in Spain from a comparative perspective. First of all, the main rules on material reparation that have been approved in Spain since Franco's death will be introduced. This will be followed by a comparison of the transitional measures of justice adopted in Spain, Chile and Argentina. The intention is to examine how different countries have responded to the similar challenges that emerge in the inevitably awkward and uncertain process of transition to democracy....
The governments of Argentina and Uruguay are at loggerheads. The conflict involves the construction of two plants designed to produce paper pulp, one backed by Spanish capital and the other Finnish, in the Uruguayan city of Fray Bentos. The Argentines see the venture as environmental aggression, making it a bilateral issue. Uruguay considers it a strictly internal, domestic matter in which the country's sovereignty is at stake. The conflict arose from local political battles and electoral issues in the Argentine province of Entre Rxc3xados. From there, with President Kirchner's support (or unwillingness to stop it), it became a nationa#l issue. Uruguay's response has been uncompromising and the constant criticism of Mercosur expressed by different political and economic actors has amplified a large number of complaints against Argentina. The two governments could lose control of the dispute since strong nationalist feelings have been stirred up among the general public. In fact, the conflict mounted steadily through February, as the Argentine Congress authorised the government to approach the International Court in The Hague, the Uruguayan government requested mediation before the Organisation of American States (OAS) and Argentina proposed that work on the projects be stopped for three months. This demonstrates how the conflict has gone beyond the bounds of Mercosur, given the apparent inability of Brazilian diplomacy to deal with a dispute which, if it continues to worsen, threatens to ruin what little remains of Mercosur. However, in early March there were a few, though insufficient, signs that tensions may be easing....
Latin America's Tri-Border Area (TBA),
bounded by Puerto Iguazu, Argentina; Ciudad
del Este, Paraguay; and Foz do Iguacu, Brazil, is an
ideal breeding ground for terrorist groups. The TBA
is a lawless area of illicit activities that generate billions
of dollars annually in money laundering, arms
and drug trafficking, counterfeiting, document falsification,
and piracy. The TBA offers terrorists
potential financing; access to illegal weapons and advanced
technologies; easy movement and concealment;
and a sympathetic population from which to
recruit new members and spread global messages.
While the TBA is not currently the center of gravity
in the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT), it has
an important place in the strategy for combating
September 26, 2005 United Nations // United Nations Development Programme // Human Development Report Office
This paper first looks at common causes of organised violent conflict in Latin
America, paying particular attention to the role of inequality and the transition from
discontent to violence. It also considers the potential costs of such conflict. It then
examines the potential contribution of dialogue to conflict prevention and resolution.
Dialogue is an approach that has recently been promoted widely in the region,
primarily because its methodology offers the opportunity to address political
inequality while at the same time dealing with other key issues. The final section uses
this framework to examine the three cases of Argentina, Bolivia and Venezuela,
providing analysis of the nature and causes of current conflicts, and of the impact of
dialogue as a conflict resolution tool....
Christian Federico von Wernich, who was born in 1938 and who is of German origin, became chaplain of the Buenos Aires Provincial Police in 1976. Von Wernich is accused of having abused his position in the clergy in order to obtain information from political prisoners during confession. One of the most atrocious crimes in which von Wernich is said to have participated was that of the "group of seven" (Grupo de los siete) students who he allegedly "broke" through confession and who were later killed. It is alleged that he often visited the relatives of the seven students asking for money and telling them that their children were going to be released soon if they cooperated. He allegedly promised the same to the students, as in the case Cecilia Idiart, who later was killed....
During the "dirty war" which caused havoc during the period 1976-1983 under the military dictatorship of Jorge Rafael Videla, between 13'000 and 30'000 people went missing in Argentina. One of the methods used to get rid of opponents to the regime without trace was to organise "flights of death" during which the people who had been abducted were thrown out of the aircraft, naked and unconscious, into the ocean thousands of metres below. Scilingo was an Army officer at the dreaded Esma (Argentine Army's High School for Mechanics). In this position, he is said to have taken part in two flights of death, during which around thirty people were killed....
The Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (Equipo Argentino de Antropologxc3xada Forense, EAAF) is a non-governmental, nonprofit, scientific organization that applies forensic sciences - mainly forensic anthropology and archaeology- to the investigation of human rights violations in Argentina and worldwide. EAAF was established in 1984 to investigate the cases of a#t least 10,000 disappeared people in Argentina during the military government that ruled from 1976-1983.
L'équipe argentine d'anthropologie médico-légale (Equipo Argentino de Antropologxc3xada Forense, EAAF) est une organisation scientifique non gouvernementale Ã but non lucratif qui applique les sciences médico-légales - essentiellement l'anthropologie et l'archéologie médico-légales - Ã l'investigation des violations des droits de l'homme dans le monde entier. Elle fut établie en 1984 pour investiguer les cas des personnes disparues en Argentine sous le dernier gouvernement militaire (1976-1983)....
CELS aims to denounce violations of Human Rights, to affect the process of expression of public policies based on the respect of the fundamental rights and to promote the largest practice of these rights for the most vulnerable classes of society.
Derechos Human Rights is an international organization working for the respect and promotion of human rights all over the world. Our work consists on educating the public about human rights and human rights violations; on investigating human rights abuses, including their causes, development and consequences; on contributing to the development of international and national human rights law and the rule of law; on preserving the memory of the victims of human rights violations and fighting against the impunity of human rights violators; and on carrying out hands-on projects of assistance to human rights NGOs, activists and victims of human rights or humanitarian law violations. We use the internet as our primary communication and information tool. ...
Hezbollah, Lebanon‘s Iran-sponsored Shi‘i Muslim terrorist organization, has established global networks in at least 40 countries. Its growing presence in South America is increasingly troublesome to U.S. policymakers, yet there are few experts on Hezbollah and fewer still on Hezbollah Latino America. Hezbollah‘s operatives have infiltrated the Western Hemisphere from Canada to Argentina, and its activity is increasing, particularly in the lawless Tri-Border Area (TBA) of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. This research was conducted to expose the actions and objectives of Hezbollah in the TBA. The majority of US officials and operators believe that Hezbollah‘s terrorist wing is separate from its political wing, but these are misconceptions from people who "mirror-image" the American experience when assessing Hezbollah. Unfamiliarity with the organization makes these assessors vulnerable to its propaganda, which is a severe problem that permeates the US government and its operatives. People who think Hezbollah is or could be compartmentalized or disunited are not familiar with the organization and perceive Hezbollah through the lens of the organization‘s extensive propaganda effort. Hezbollah has a large operational network in the TBA, which generates funds for the party, but its primary mission is to plan attacks and lie dormant, awaiting instructions to execute operations against Western targets. The following is a look at Hezbollah‘s modus operandi, an analysis of how operational its networks in the Tri-Border Area are, as well as some possible solutions to this threat. First, is an examination of how Hezbollah traditionally operates to establish the context....
This report updates the topic of Iran’s Growing Relations with Latin America [page 5]. Over the past several years, U.S. officials and other observers have expressed concerns about
Iran’s increasing activities in Latin America, particularly under the government of President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. For example, in January 2009 congressional testimony, Secretary of
Defense Robert Gates maintained that he was concerned about the level of “subversive activity
that the Iranians are carrying on in a number of places in Latin America, particularly South
America and Central America.” There has been some contention, however, over the level and significance of Iran’s linkages with
the region. One view emphasizes that Iran’s relations with several Latin American leaders who
have employed strong anti-U.S. rhetoric and its past support for terrorist activities in the region
are reasons why its presence should be considered a potential destabilizing threat to the region.
Another school of thought emphasizes that Iran’s domestic politics and strategic orientation
toward the Middle East and Persian Gulf region will preclude the country from sustaining a focus
on Latin America. Adherents of this view assert that Iran’s promised aid and investment to Latin
America have not materialized. Some observers holding both of these views contend that while Iran’s activities in Latin America do not currently constitute a major threat to U.S. national
security, there is enough to be concerned about to keep a watchful eye on developments in case it
becomes a more serious threat. On October 27, 2009, the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on
the Western Hemisphere held a hearing on “Iran in the Western Hemisphere” that reflected these
range of views....
February 17, 2010 Committee to Protect Journalists
At least 71 journalists were killed across the globe in 2009, the Committee to Protect Journalists announced Tuesday, the largest annual toll in the 30 years the group has been keeping track.
Twenty-nine of those deaths came in a single, politically motivated massacre of reporters and others in the Philippines last November, the worst known episode for journalists, the committee said.
But there were other worrisome trends. The two nations with the highest number of journalists incarcerated — China had 24 journalists imprisoned at the end of 2009 and Iran had 23 — were particularly harsh in taking aim at bloggers and others using the Internet. The number jailed in Iran has since jumped to 47, the committee said. Of the 71 confirmed deaths, 51 were murders, the committee said. The report noted that 24 additional deaths of journalists remained under investigation to determine if they were related to the journalists’ work. Previously, the highest number of journalists killed in a single year was 67, in 2007, when violence in Iraq was raging....
November 20, 2009 International Center for Transitional Justice
During the 1970’s, political violence in Argentina resulted in massive violations of human rights
that included thousands of deaths, prolonged and arbitrary arrests, disappearances, unfair trials,
pervasive torture, in addition to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Since the restoration
of democracy in 1983, there have been various obstacles to prosecution of such crimes committed
by security forces and paramilitary groups. Such obstacles were eventually overcome, and
Argentina currently offers an important example of the positive results of both domestic efforts
and international advocacy to achieve justice for past crimes against humanity. Due to its recent
and ongoing success in the prosecution of human rights criminals, it is arguable that Argentina
has one of the best records of transitional justice in the world. It has fostered transitional justice
developments in the region, and offers critical insights for other communities struggling with the
past which are following Argentina’s efforts with deep interest. The repressive campaign that resulted in massive human rights violations peaked in March 1976,
as the commanders-in-chief of Argentina’s three armed forces ousted democratically elected
President Isabel Perón and proclaimed a de facto regime. During the seven years of military
rule, the military fought what was referred to as a Marxist subversive threat. The most notorious
feature of repression by the military dictatorship was the practice of disappearances: possibly up
to 30,000 people were abducted by security forces. They were sent to hundreds of secret detention
centers, where they were interrogated under barbaric methods. Ultimately, the vast majority
of the desaparecidos were systematically, but secretly, murdered. In 1983, before democracy was
restored, the military granted itself immunity from prosecution and issued a decree ordering the
destruction of all documents relating to military repression....
October 7, 2009 Small Arms Survey // Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva // Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
The data in this report is derived from country submissions when possible,
and estimates when necessary. Estimates are extrapolated from each country’s
identified procurement, highest modern personnel totals, and strategic doctrine.
Except where noted, the military small arms and light weapons data
presented here is not official, comprehensive, or conclusive; it is for general
evaluation and comparison only. The complete methodology used here is described
in Chapter 2 of the Small Arms Survey 2006.
Small arms are state-owned handguns, submachine guns, rifles, shotguns,
and light and medium machine guns. Firearms are civilian-owned handguns,
submachine guns, rifles, and shotguns. Long at the forefront of international small arms issues, public debate and
activism in South America have largely focused on matters surrounding civilian
firearms, estimated here to total between 21.7 and 26.8 million. The reasons
for this civilian preoccupation are principally linked to chronic gun violence.
South America has 14 per cent of the global population, and roughly 3.5 to 4 per
cent of the world’s civilian firearms, but it suffers from roughly 40 per cent of
all homicides committed with firearms.
Military small arms are rarely part of public debate, largely because of a
strong culture of national security secrecy in South America. But military
small arms policy has attracted much closer scrutiny in recent years, especially
as military small arms and light weapons are diverted to criminals and
guerrillas, fuelling insurgencies and civil violence. This report focuses primarily
on issues surrounding surplus military small arms and light weapons in
the region. Law enforcement and civilian firearms inventories and issues are
recognized here as well, to ensure a balanced overall perspective.
The region’s military establishments do not have a strong record of identifying
or eliminating their surplus small arms, light weapons, or ammunition.
South America holds some of the world’s largest military small arms and
light weapons surpluses. Military inventories are not exceptionally large in
absolute terms, but they are a major element in global surplus problems. Among
the 12 independent countries of South America, there are an estimated 3.6
million military small arms as of 2007, 1.5 per cent of the global total. Of these,
approximately 1.3 million, more than one-third, are surplus....