Forty years after the end of the last civil-military dictatorship, and in the context of the reflections that we as Argentine society must make around this anniversary, we would like to point out our preoccupation and rejection of various initiatives and decisions of legislatures and provincial governments that are highly regressive in terms of human rights.

We would like to emphasise that in the early years of this democracy, reborn from the horror of the dictatorship, the majority consensus of all political sectors, social organisations and broad sectors of the citizenry, held that democracy is the political system that allows the full enjoyment of human rights.

This is to the extent that people are guaranteed the right to have rights, that is, to demand them through public expression and protest, in order to win them or to force their fulfilment if they are already in the normative plexus.

The proposed reform of the Constitution of the province of Jujuy, which would curtail the right to protest, is another step towards shaping the Magna Carta in the service of regressive policies in terms of rights, taking away the basic instruments of the people in the exercise of their sovereignty.

In Salta, the so-called “anti-picketing” law was condemned on 1 June, in the context of protests over the wages of education and health workers.

In the province of Chubut, the judiciary, as an instrument of the executive power, prosecuted more than 50 demonstrators who were expressing themselves in public demonstrations for different demands. Sixteen of them were demanding the approval of a bill to open a referendum on the mega-mining projects proposed for the province. In other words, they were calling for an institute of popular and democratic participation in the provincial constitution, which was rejected by the executive. Two teachers were convicted for demanding their salaries. The Public Prosecutor’s Office is focused on prosecuting the demonstrators and has not opened a case or investigated the repressive violence of the security forces. The rule of law in Chubut is clearly violated.

Argentina’s democracy has made many advances in terms of rights, both by incorporating international conventions, covenants and treaties into its constitution, and by legislating to guarantee them. However, at the same time, due to the policies implemented by different governments in different areas, the violation of rights is a constant. Democracy is based on an enormous social gap, which has widened inequality and condemned millions of citizens to precariousness.

On the other hand, democracy makes sense as a form of conflict management. Repression, criminalisation of protest and its prohibition are the worst way forward. We call on the different political parties, governments, civil servants and legislators to change course and return to the consensus built in the heat of the memory of the horror: democracy is the full enjoyment of human rights.

CPM: Comisión Provincial por la Memoria | Mecanismo Local de Prevención de la Tortura de la Provincia de Buenos Aires (National Law 26.827)