Press Release

IACHR Welcomes the Implementation of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture in Argentina

April 4, 2018

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Washington, D.C. — The Inter-American Commission on Human rights (IACHR) welcomes the recent implementation of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, in the State of Argentina. The IACHR views this as an important step for the protection of the fundamental rights of persons deprived of liberty and for the fulfillment of international obligations on this issue.

According to official information, on December 28, 2017, the National Committee for the Prevention of Torture was established; it is a mechanism for monitoring detention centers such as prisons, police station lockups, and security forces facilities. The IACHR urges the Argentine State to adopt the necessary measures to ensure that the mechanism has the resources and institutional support it needs to exercise its functions in an effective manner and with the autonomy and independence demanded by the nature of its functions.

The IACHR welcomes the adoption of this measure, which fulfills the recommendations of several international human rights bodies, such as the United Nations Human Rights Committee, the Committee against Torture, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, and the Inter-American Commission itself. Specifically, during a visit in September 2016, the IACHR Rapporteurship on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty heard various allegations from autonomous public entities and civil society organizations regarding alleged incidents of torture and abuse in Argentine detention centers. Given the absence of a national mechanism, the Commission called on the State to adopt the necessary measures for its implementation.

The Commission reiterates that detention facilities must be subject to constant, independent oversight and monitoring. The way that detained persons are treated must be subject to the strictest scrutiny, taking into consideration the special situation of risk they face in the context of deprivation of liberty. Accordingly, prison management in general must be governed by strict criteria of transparency, openness, and independent oversight.

“Considering the constant allegations of torture or abuse in detention that the Commission has received throughout the region, the establishment of the National Mechanism for the Prevention of Torture in Argentina represents a positive measure to guarantee the right to personal integrity of persons deprived of liberty, one that should be replicated by States that do not have such a mechanism,” said the Rapporteur on the Rights of Persons Deprived of Liberty, Commissioner Joel Hernández. “I have the conviction that through the constant, effective, and independent evaluation of this mechanism, it will be possible to avoid the perpetration of abuse or torture against persons who are in the custody of the State,” he added.

“The establishment of the Mechanism is good news,” the IACHR Rapporteur for Argentina, Luis Ernesto Vargas, said. “We will monitor its implementation and effectiveness”.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 079/18