Derechos Human Rights Lauds Argentine Vote on Human Rights Convention

Derechos Human Rights Lauds Argentine Vote on Human Rights

May 2, 1997

Derechos Human Rights

Derechos Human Rights congratulates the unanimous approval by the
Argentine Senate of the Inter-American Convention on Forced
Disappearance of Persons.  On April 30, the 20th anniversary of the first
meeting of the Argentine human rights group Mothers of Plaza de Mayo,
the Argentine Senate unanimously approved the Inter-American Convention
on Forced Disappearance of Persons.

The Organization of American States adopted the Convention in
June 1994 to prevent, punish, and eliminate the forced
disappearance of persons.

The Convention was drafted in part in response to the tactic of disappearing
people used by the Argentine dictatorship from 1976 to 1983.  A
"disappearance" in the Argentina context has usually involved the kidnapping
of an individual by plain-clothes government security forces, secret
detention, torture, and execution.  An estimated 30,000 people were
"disappeared" by the Argentine military government.  According to former Navy
captain Adolfo Scilingo, an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 of these disappeared
persons were thrown alive from a plane into the Atlantic Ocean.  A few of
these bodies washed ashore, but most were never recovered. 

Article 3 of the Convention states that states shall criminalize the forced
disappearance of persons and that the crime of disappearance is ongoing so
long as the fate or whereabouts of the victim is unknown.  Article 7 of the
Convention states that there shall be no statute of limitations on the
criminal prosecution and punishment of perpetrators of forced disappearances.
An article 8 prohibits the defense of due obedience to superior orders that
authorize forced disappearance. It further mandates that all persons who
receive such orders have the right and duty not to obey them. 

Derechos Human Rights is encouraged by Argentina's approval of the 
treaty and calls on the Argentine government to overturn the laws of Due
Obedience and Final Point and re-open criminal investigations into the
disappearance of Argentine citizens from 1976 to 1983.

Human Rights in Argentina

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