Government to shut down institute that fights discrimination and racism

The presidential spokesman said Milei’s administration ‘will be dismantling institutes that are good for nothing’

Presidential Spokesman Manuel Adorn confirmed the government’s plan to shut down the National Institute against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism (INADI, by its Spanish acronym) in his daily press conference on Thursday morning, to immediate and widespread backlash.

“We are taking the first steps in dismantling several institutes that are good for nothing, or that serve just as a political piggy bank or for creating jobs for political activists,” Adorni said, saying the process of shutting the INADI down had already begun. 

“We can’t make people keep paying for this kind of thing with their taxes,” he added. “The government’s plan is to reduce public spending because that is the only way of lowering taxes.”

The move immediately prompted backlash and questions surrounding the legality of closing down the INADI, which was created by Law 24.515. Former INADI head María José Libertino pointed to the fact that the government renewed an audit of the institute on Wednesday via the Official Bulletin, appointing María Quiroga as its executive.

“Please, [Adorni], could you point to which administrative action upholds this information? In the [Official Bulletin] there’s just the designation of a new auditor from yesterday,” said Lubertino on social media in response to the announced closure. “The INADI was created by law. There is no necessity or urgency for this. It can’t be abolished via decree!”

INADI was created in 1995 as part of the Justice Ministry to create and enforce state policies to fight discrimination, xenophobia, and racism. The first of its kind, it began operating in 1997, three years after the bombing of Jewish community center AMIA. The attack was key to the creation of INADI.

In response to Adorni’s statements, the Argentine Israelite Associations Delegation (DAIA, in Spanish) condemned the proposed closure of INADI, saying they had promoted its creation back in the 1990s because “discrimination in Argentina is an issue suffered by many collectives.”

“The decision to shut it down attacks the protection of the right to equality and pacific coexistence in our society, which is exemplary worldwide,” DAIA wrote on X on Thursday.

The INADI has often been the target of the government and its closure was part of President Javier Milei’s failed omnibus bill. Adorni said that it currently has 400 employees working in offices nationwide. A press release by the Justice Ministry published later on Thursday said that the ministry will absorb INADI’s functions and that the institute’s “qualified workers” will be transferred there.

Every day, INADI receives dozens of reports regarding cases of discrimination towards disabled people, sexual or gender discrimination, racism, xenophobia, or any other kind of discrimination. The institute provides free legal counseling and support, acting as an intermediary between the victim and the aggressor to reach an agreement if possible. The institute also promotes taking cases to court when an agreement isn’t reached.

Its main purpose is to make reporting easier and better for victims — most of its employees come from marginalized communities and are trained to give special assistance.

Since Milei took office, thousands of state workers have been fired, including many from the Women, Gender, and Diversity Ministry, which was eliminated from the get-go.


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald