Press Release

IACHR Expresses Concern for Vigilante Attacks in Argentina

April 24, 2014

Washington, D.C.—The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expresses concern for the recent incidents in Argentina in which people suspected of robbery have been attacked. The Inter-American Commission views as positive the fact that the Argentine authorities have condemned these incidents and have stated that those found to be responsible will be judged in accordance with the law.

According to publicly available information, there have been at least ten recent incidents in which neighborhood residents in different part of the country have attacked suspected robbers, leading to the death of one person and serious injuries to others. According to the information, on March 22, 2014, 18-year-old David Moreira was beaten to death by a group of people in a neighborhood of Rosario, in the province of Santa Fe, after he allegedly tried to rob a woman’s purse. Other attacks on robbery suspects which have resulted in serious injuries have also been reported in Buenos Aires, Córdoba, La Rioja, Rosario, Santiago del Estero, and Santa Fe.

As the Commission has indicated before, such incidents are a problem both in terms of justice and in terms of citizen security. It is the State’s responsibility, at the different levels of government, to adopt the necessary measures so that public agencies can address and solve the problem. The obligation to prevent crime and resolve conflicts falls to the State.

The Inter-American Commission also welcomes the announcement by State authorities that the killing and the other attacks will be investigated and those responsible will be punished. The IACHR also urges the State to adopt a comprehensive policy to prevent these attacks, in order to put an end to them.

It is of special concern to the Commission that in some of these cases, the victims were adolescents. Also of concern is the perception that young people, especially those who come from traditionally excluded segments of society, pose a potential risk to citizen security. The Commission has previously expressed its concern that these perceptions can translate into regressive trends in the area of juvenile justice, as well as control measures that do not strictly adhere to international human rights standards. In this regard, the Commission urges the State, at its different levels, to strengthen the necessary measures to ensure the full exercise of young people’s human rights.

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 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. 46/14