Argentina Seeks To Export Its Human Rights Policy

buenos aires argentina
buenos aires argentina

The Interamerican Commission for Human Rights has denounced a deep financial crisis, perhaps the worst since its establishment. This debacle happens after years of systematically inadequate funding policies. Despite several commitments and pledges made by the states to "adequately fund the body," the Interamerican Commission of Human Rights is the worst funded human rights system in the world. The seriousness of this situation shows the lack of political will by some states in terms of financing and promoting the observance and protection of human rights.

For that reason, the statement delivered by the Commission thanking Argentina for the extraordinary contribution in order to help overcome the current financial crisis becomes quite relevant. With a total of USD 400,000 to be contributed in 2016, Argentina becomes the main Latin American donor to the Commission, and makes solid steps to shore up commitments made by this government, understanding the defense of the IAHRS as a "state policy". For the country- especially for its citizens- the importance the Commission should not be neglected: the Interamerican system is one of the leading guarantees in the face of structural problems of our country, but mainly in terms of access to justice in case of serious violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. It is relevant to highlight that the statement was published days before the arrival to Argentina of Mr. Cavallaro, President of the Commission, as part of a trip with an agenda that includes visits to detention centers - following precautionary measures against Argentina - , meetings with national authorities and a discussion with senior officials of the three branches and members of civil society.

The Argentine contribution to the sustainability of the Commission is not an isolated event. Cavallaro recently stated that "obviously the contribution made by Argentina places it as the Latin American country that has supported financially the work of the Commission". Notably it was not the only contribution made by Argentina in the international agenda on human rights. An example of this is the position on the political and social crisis in Venezuela, when during the presidential campaign Macri committed to the defense of human rights in that country, a position which has been continued throughout official statements, press conferences, debates in international organizations, and actions in the regional organizations such as OAS.

Argentina is also contributing to the peace process in Colombia. It is considered that the disarmament, demobilization and reintegration; transitional justice; and security sector reform are central pillars for creating a suitable scenario for preventing future human rights violations. Thus Argentina has already pledged to deploy 75 military observers to accompany the disarmament and demobilization process of FARC fighters. In the near future more contributions could come from Argentina, whether they are linked to more theoretical and political issues of the post-conflict process, or more operational actions such as those related to humanitarian demining.

In a more global contribution, the Argentine commitment to receive three thousand Syrian refugees should not be overlooked. The current severe humanitarian crisis, which affects more than 60 million people in the world, made Argentina react by receiving three thousand refugees. Although it may seem as a symbolic number, it is a first step to demonstrate to the governments of the region and to the world that their immigration and refugee policies are related to their responsibility to protect populations from armed conflict and human rights violations.

Despite the progress, there are still many challenges ahead in terms of foreign policy and human rights. But there are also many contributions that Argentina can do in this area. The strong defense of the International Criminal Court that the country has had, following a state policy of more than 15 years, should be highlighted, and the upcoming congressional debate on the ratification of the Kampala Amendments becomes particularly important.

Our resilience as a society to the horrors of our past has nurtured us with experience, tools and capabilities that today can be capitalized, in order to continue strengthening state policies in human rights or to contribute internationally to protect those most at risk. Thus the support to the IACHR, commitment to human rights in Venezuela, receiving Syrian refugees and our contribution to the Colombian peace process become important milestones marking that the defense of human rights, either within or outside our borders, is a policy that is here to stay.