Jujuy: Amnesty International condemns lawyer’s detention before UN

Nobel Prize Laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel said the Buenos Aires City government is “mistreating” Jujuy protesters

Amnesty International, together with the Argentine North East Lawyers Organization (ANDHES), submitted an urgent appeal to the United Nations (UN) on Thursday on behalf of human rights lawyer Alberto Elías Nallar in Jujuy, who was arrested last month under charges of “treason.”

In the petition, which they sent to the UN’s Commission on Human Rights Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the organizations condemned the “constant criminalization of people who demonstrate” against Jujuy’s constitutional reform.

On June 15, the government of Jujuy, led by governor Gerardo Morales, passed a heavily-contested constitutional reform after which thousands of people started protests that were violently thwarted by the police. The new text forbids roadblocks as a valid form of protest and gives the provincial government further rights over natural resources — which the communities say endangers the ownership of their lands.

At least 130 protestors, lawyers, and activists have been arrested since the demonstrations began. Irregularities and excessive use of force were recorded in the actions of the security forces, and the protests continue at the time of writing. Nallar is not the only detained lawyer who was defending people arrested for protesting — Néstor Ariel Ruarte, Vicente Casas, Roberto Carlos Aleman, and Alicia Chalabe were also arrested. Last month, Argentina’s Human Right Secretariat filed a preventive habeas corpus petition on their behalf.

According to the court order mandating for Nallar’s arrest, he was detained because he appeared at two roadblocks and “publicly instigated the perpetrators of these illegal acts to continue interrupting public services, instigating them to also riot and commit acts of treason, rebelling against the provincial Constitution.”

The “urgent appeal” procedure by Amnesty International and ANDHES starts at the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, which analyzes the submitted information — reliable allegations that a person has been arbitrarily detained. If deemed sufficient, the Working Group sends the requested urgent appeal to the relevant government through diplomatic channels, calling for it to ensure the rights of the detained person.

“Amnesty International calls for an urgent halt to the violence, repression, and criminalization in the province and to guarantee and respect the right to protest in compliance with international human rights standards,” Amnesty said in a statement.

In Buenos Aires

In statements also made on Thursday, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Adolfo Pérez Esquivel accused the government of Buenos Aires City of mistreating 200 indigenous people who arrived from Jujuy on August 1 to protest against the reform. 

In August, close to a thousand Indigenous people arrived in Buenos Aires in the Malón de Paz march which set out from Jujuy a week ago to protest the provincial governor’s constitutional reform.

“Malón” is a term that originally referred to the raids carried out by Indigenous communities in South America in the 17th century. Among the demands are calls for the Supreme Court to rule the reform unconstitutional, the National Congress to sanction an Indigenous Community Property Law and the Executive Branch to take over the province of Jujuy due to police brutality, persecution, and detention of demonstrators.

Pérez Esquivel described their current situation as very serious. “The almost 200 Indigenous people who arrived from La Quiaca, Purmamarca, and Tilcara to demand the recognition of their rights and to condemn the repression in their territories, are being mistreated by the City Government and by the Supreme Court of Justice,” he told Télam.

“It is discrimination, racism, and intolerance.  The Indigenous people are on vigil in Plaza Lavalle and not only are they not given tents and chemical toilets, but they want to make them pay an insurance of millions of pesos.”

–with information from Télam


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald