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Committee against Torture reviews report of Argentina

Committee against Torture

 27 April 2017

The Committee against Torture this afternoon completed the consideration of the combined fifth and sixth periodic report of Argentina on its implementation of the provisions of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

Claudio Avruj, Minister for Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism, introduced the report of Argentina and stressed that without recognizing that torture actually took place, torture could not be eradicated.  In Argentina, practices of torture had been entrenched in the security forces, penitentiary system and in various strands of public power, which the democratic government was taking steps to address.  The law to establish a torture prevention mechanism at national and local levels had been adopted in 2012, but its implementation was unequal throughout the country.  Argentina embarked on the reform of its penal code to bring it in line its international human rights obligations, particularly with regards to human rights protection, fight against terrorism and drug trafficking.

Marta Varela, Senator and the President of the Bicameral Commission of the Ombudsman, explained that each federal unit – the 23 provinces and the City of Buenos Aires - had the responsibility to put in place their own torture prevention mechanisms.  The Bicameral Commission had been set up in 2016, and one of the key tasks it had was to appoint the 13 members of the National Committee for the Prevention of Torture, the process which had started in March 2017 through an open call of applications, and would be completed by July.  The Bicameral Commission also had the mandate to appoint the Ombudsman, and that process was ongoing.

Committee Experts said that, in prosecuting past crimes including crimes of torture, enforced disappearances, and extra-judicial executions, Argentina set an example for Latin America and the world as a whole.  Progress was there, trials for crimes against humanity committed during the military dictatorship should be further expedited.  Argentina continued to face challenges such as massive and ever-increasing presence of the police in poor neighbourhoods and excessive and arbitrary use of force by the police against people, usually poor, young and powerless; prison overcrowding due to doubling of the incarcerated population over the past 16 years and the related institutional violence such as excessive use of force, torture and ill-treatment; and the deplorable situation of psychiatric hospitals which gave rise to inhumane and degrading treatment.

Experts also raised concern about the poor implementation of the law on torture prevention mechanisms particularly in the provinces, the politicization and lack of independence of the national preventive mechanism, and about the overlapping of mandates of different institutions which made up the mechanism at the moment.  The Ombudsperson, who resigned in 2008, had not yet been replaced.  The migration law reform was regressive and violated fundamental rights and freedoms of migrants including through tightening of migration checks and easing deportation procedures; as such, it seemed to criminalize migration.

In his concluding remarks, Mr. Avruj reiterated the commitment of Argentina to building its young democracy and its nation on the basis of the fight for human rights in its broadest conception, which was particularly important given the country’s past.

The delegation of Argentina included representatives of the Ministry of Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Bicameral Commission of the Ombudsman, and the Permanent Mission of Argentina to the United Nations Office at Geneva.
The Committee will next meet at 10 a.m. on Friday, 28 April in Room XVII of the Palais des Nations in Geneva, to hold a general discussion on a draft revised General Comment of article of the Convention in the context of article 22.
 
Report

The combined fifth and sixth periodic report of Argentina can be read here: CAT/C/ARG/5-6.
 
Presentation of the Report

CLAUDIO AVRUJ, Minister for Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism, stressed that torture could not be eradicated before it was recognized that it had actually taken place.  Practices of torture had been entrenched in the security forces, penitentiary system and in various strands of public power.  The democratic government had taken steps to protect and advance the protection of rights, and had advanced the setting up of the institution of Ombudsman.  Argentina was due to be reviewed by the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and had received, or would soon receive, visits by several special procedures, including by the Working Group on arbitrary detention.

At the institutional level and in terms of strengthening the legislative framework, the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights had become Ministry for Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism.  The truth and justice programme and the programme for victims of violence were retained, and new units had been set up to address civic education, conflict resolution, and institutional violence.  The Ombudsman, acting as national human rights institution, had developed a monitoring programme for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.  The law to establish a torture prevention mechanism at national and local levels had been adopted in 2012.  It had to be acknowledged that the implementation of local mechanisms had been unequal throughout the country: in some provinces they had been established and running, in others they still did not function well, and there were also provinces which still had not adopted the required legislation.  The Bicameral Commission of the Ombudsman was in the process of setting up the National Committee for the Prevention of Torture.

In February 2017, a commission had been created to propose an amendment to penal code and bring it in line with Argentina’s international human rights obligations, particularly with regard to human rights protection, fight against terrorism and drug trafficking. The Federal Justice Council had been established in 2008 to coordinate penitentiary policies and activities between different levels of public administration - national, provincial and the City of Buenos Aires.  The Council’s work plan for 2017 included a campaign for the promotion of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Mandela Rules).

MARTA VARELA, Senator and the President of the Bicameral Commission of the Ombudsman, explained that the law established a national committee for the prevention of torture and local mechanisms and bodies set up in accordance with that law.  Argentina was a federal state of 23 provinces and the City of Buenos Aires, and each had the responsibility to put in place their own torture prevention mechanism.  The Bicameral Commission had been set up in 2016, and one of the key tasks it had was to appoint the 13 members of the National Committee for the Prevention of Torture – representatives of the Parliament, the Government and the civil society.  The process of identification of candidates had started in March 2017, through an open call of applications, and would be fully transparent.  The candidates would be selected by the vote of both chambers of the Congress, and it was expected that a national committee would be operational by July this year.  The Bicameral Commission also had the mandate to appoint the Ombudsman and this process was ongoing.

Questions by the Country Co-Rapporteurs

CLAUDE HELLER ROUASSANT, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Argentina, commended Argentina for steps taken to address the crimes of the past, including crimes against humanity, and in particular the prosecution of those accused of crimes including torture, enforced disappearances, and extra-judicial executions committed during the dictatorship.  Argentina had set up an example for the whole of Latin America and the world.  The Government should not weaken institutions that had been created for that task, and should expedite trials for crimes against humanity committed during the dictatorship and under the terrorism laws.

The Committee Rapporteur noted that some of the challenges that continued in the country included barriers to the full and effective implementation of laws, most notably the law on a national preventive mechanism and the law on mental health; as well as continued human rights violations, violence against women, and issues facing the indigenous peoples.

The definition of torture was not in line with article 1 of the Convention.  Argentina was about to start the reform of its penal code – why the reform and what would it entail?  Why had the entry into force of the new code of criminal procedure been suspended?

The Ombudsman had resigned in 2008 and the new one had not been appointed.  What were the procedures in place to appoint an independent Ombudsman?  What happened if two-thirds of the parliamentary majority, which was the requirement for the appointment, were not achieved?

The institutional framework for the prevention of torture – which was still not fully in place – was composed of several bodies, such as the Ombudsmen, a penitentiary unit in the Ministry of Justice, and  provincial prevention mechanisms.  What coordination system was in place and how many complaints of torture had been received so far?

The rate of refugee recognition was decreasing since 2014.  How many asylum applications had been received, from which nationalities, and what were the reasons for the high rate of denial?  Could the delegation inform about the Syria Programme which was run by the National Directorate for Migration?

What were the reasons and nature of draft amendments to the migration law?  The proportion of foreigners in the prison population was on the increase, and currently stood at 21 percent, and it seemed that one of the purposes of the amendments was to tighten migration checks and ease the deportation procedure; critics objected to that criminalization of migration and considered that the proposed measures were regressive and in violation of Argentina’s international obligations as they violated fundamental rights and freedoms of migrants.

What measures were being adopted to prevent ill-treatment of migrants by security forces?  Security and migration policy should not violate any human rights at any time, stressed the Country Rapporteur.

Argentina was the first Latin American country to ratify the Optional Protocol in 2004, and had adopted the law on the national prevention system composed of local mechanisms and the national committee.  The implementation of the law was delayed, particularly in the setting up of the National Committee, which had not been completed yet, and that delay significantly limited the functioning of the mechanisms in the provinces. 

Mr. Heller Rouassant expressed concern about the politicization of the National Committee, and urged Argentina to ensure that the selection of members was transparent and in line with the requirements of the Optional Protocol. 

What steps were being taken to guarantee that three members of the national preventive mechanism were from the civil society and that the civil society could systematically participate in other torture prevention mechanisms and discussions?
Another issue was why the setting up of the national preventive mechanism was delayed in the first place and how it would cooperate with already existing institutions which had the mandate of torture prevention, for example the prison authorities.  How were the existing mechanisms working already?

Turning to violence in places of deprivation of liberty, the Expert expressed concern about overcrowding, which in some prisons reached emergency levels, the use of torture and ill-treatment of detainees, and the use of solitary confinement.

Over the past 16 years, the prison population had doubled; most were in the 34 federal prisons, and 500 were in provincial jails.  It was striking that the rate of imprisonment for women had dramatically increased, which seemed to be due to the repressive drug laws.  Less than 40 percent of detainees actually had a sentence handed down to them, and the rest were in pre-trial detention which, according to the law, could last up to two years and could be further extended by a special order. Such a dramatic increase in the prison population was one of the root causes of prison violence, which then led to an increased use of torture and ill-treatment as a disciplinary measure.  There were reports of extensive and systematic practices in prisons.

How did Argentina implement the international standards in that regard and what was it doing to reduce prison overcrowding?  What steps were being taken to address the use of torture and ill-treatment in places of detention?

The main cause of death in prison was poor health, due to inadequate hygiene, nutrition, and access to medical care, particularly for chronic diseases.  What steps were being taken to tackle that problem?

In Buenos Aires, the penitentiary system for adults was militarized and akin to practices of the past; there was impunity for the use of torture and ill treatment, and the almost complete lack of judiciary action on allegations of torture.  In the Magdalena prison, for example, 33 persons had died and the case had not been brought to court for almost a decade.

Another serious issue was the excessive and arbitrary use of force by the police against people, usually poor, young and powerless; in some cases, it led to extra-judicial executions.  The Committee was also concerned about the situation of human rights of people who spent months in police custody, which was not set up for extended time of detention.

The prison prosecution service had been established under the law, but it seemed that in practice it found it hard to function properly, also due to rejection by the administration and institutions.  It would become a part of the national preventive mechanism so the delegation was asked about measures to be taken to enable it to adequately operate.

There was no single unified system of data collection on cases of torture and ill-treatment in the country, which made the Committee wonder whether the Federal Government had a clear picture of what was happening at other levels of the state.

KENING ZHANG, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Argentina, welcomed the training on human rights provided to prison staff and law-enforcement officers, and asked whether those were periodic and compulsory.

A concern was raised about the massive and ever-increasing presence of the police in poor neighbourhoods and the reports of the police harassment.  What had been done at the end of the dictatorship to democratize and professionalize the security forces?

What training on the provision of the Convention, and, in particular on the absolute prohibition of torture, was being provided to immigration officers, the judiciary and the prosecution? 

How were the medical examiners being trained to identify signs of torture and ill-treatment?  What had been done to establish a system of independent examination in conformity with the Istanbul Protocol, as recommended by the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture in 2012?

The Office of the Ombudsperson for Federal Prison, which was acting as national preventive mechanism, had reported obstacles in accessing federal detainees in provincial prisons, and the required documentation, while the Public Defence Office had experienced barriers in accessing provincial prisons in Cordoba and other police stations.  What were the reasons for those obstacles?

How many complaints of sexual violence against detainees involving penitentiary staff had been reported, and what were the outcomes of investigations into those complaints?

Could the delegation explain whether the national register of information from domestic courts regarding cases of torture and ill-treatment was in place, and, if so, to provide data and statistics?

The Country Co-Rapporteur also asked for the up-to-date disaggregated information on the number of persons in the provincial penitentiary systems, particularly in Buenos Aires, Mendoza and Chaco, and in the federal system.  Which criteria were being used to assess the capacity of the penitentiary system and what steps were being taken to address the concerns raised about the conditions of detention, including overcrowding, poor nutrition, inadequate medical care, and limited family visits?

Mr. Zhang raised concern about the complete lack of statistics and data on the number of complains, investigations, prosecution and conviction of torture from the court system.

Torture and ill-treatment were a continued and deeply rooted practice, and part of a daily routine in prisons which still carried the militarized structure of the past.  There were reports of beating and a humiliating treatment upon entry in prison, the so-called “welcoming”, collective punishments, humiliated body searches, arbitrary and systematic transfer of detainees away from their families as a way of punishment.

Violence against detainees is partly caused by  the informal delegation of the use of force by the prison service to elected leaders among detainees who, in turn, managed illegal markets and extortion inside the prisons with the collusion of prison staff.

Since the inception of the National Register of Cases of Torture in 2000, 11 000 acts of ill-treatment and torture of persons deprived of their liberty had been registered.  The Programme against Institutional violence had received 3,777 complaints since 2008 and, of those, 2 088 had occurred in a context of detention.  The outcomes of those and other cases of institutional violence resulted in almost no application of sanctions to the authors. 

Could the delegation comment on concerns raised about impunity for torture and ill-treatment?  Was there a rehabilitation programme for victims, and what mechanism was in place to provide redress and compensation to victims?

Did Argentina use solitary confinement, and if so, how was it regulated by the law, how was it used in practice, and what were the conditions in isolation cells?  What guarantees were in place to ensure that disciplinary measures were imposed only after a disciplinary procedure that followed due process rights?

The delegation was asked to inform on the number of juveniles in detention and on which proportion of prison population they represented.

How many cases of excessive or unjustified use of force by the police had been reported and what was their nature? 

Despite the 2009 law for the prevention and punishment of violence against women, impunity for femicide prevailed.  The National Registry for Femicide, administered by the Supreme Court, had reported 235 cases of killing of women in 2015; more than 70 percent were perpetuated by a husband, a boyfriend or a former boyfriend.  Of the 235, only seven had been convicted.

Questions by Experts

The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment had a constitutional rank in Argentina – did that mean that it could be invoked in court?

The Government had stated in 2015 that there was no overcrowding in prisons; in its concluding observations following the review of Argentina in 2016, the Human Rights Committee had expressed concern about high levels of overcrowding.  Which was the truth?

With regard to the principle of non-refoulement, a case pending before the Supreme Court in which the court of first instance had found that diplomatic assurances provided by the State did not satisfy the requirements of the Convention, and the extradition request had been rejected.  What was the outcome in that case?

Argentina had submitted four periodic reports by 2004, and it had taken it 13 years to submit the next one – what were the reasons for the delay, and which assurances could be offered to the Committee that the reports would be submitted as scheduled?

What were the results and outcomes of investigations into allegations of torture, how many led to criminal proceedings and what were the sanctions handed down?

In 2012, Argentina had set up mixed-sex residential correctional facilities for the population aged 14 to 21 years in order to bring “more normal conditions of life” for detainees; the Committee was concerned about the lack of separation of female from male prisoners and asked what had been done to ensure that women were protected from violence and abuse.

Argentina had reported that more than 40 percent of the complaints for torture in the federal penitentiary system had been investigated in 2016 – how many had been prosecuted and with which results?

Experts raised concern about politicization and lack of independence of the national preventive mechanism as well as about the overlapping of mandates of the different institutions which made up the mechanism. 

What would be the future mandate of the Office of the Prosecutor in terms of monitoring of places of detention, and would civil society organizations continue to be able to visit places of deprivation of liberty?  Was the budget allocated for the functioning and operation of the National Committee for the Prevention of Torture?

What procedure was in place following death in custody, asked an Expert.

JENS MODVIG, Committee Chairperson, expressed concern that pre-trial detention was being used even in cases where it was not justified, often as a result of pressure put on judges.  There was a lack of an adequate data collection system, including the national registry of detainees to ensure that no one who had entered a place of deprivation of liberty disappeared.  In that sense, the declaration by Argentina of the emergency situation in terms of national statistics, although never heard of before, was commendable.  Would civil society make part of provincial preventive mechanisms and what steps were being taken to endow them with the necessary forensic medicine expertise?

CLAUDE HELLER ROUASSANT, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Argentina, said that the national law on mental health called for the establishment of a three-body national registration mechanism, which was particularly important in the light of a deplorable situation of psychiatric hospitals in the country, which gave rise to inhumane and degrading treatment. 

Another Expert asked the delegation to comment on the allegations of the excessive use of force by the police, particularly against the poor and the young, in the framework of the 2014 emergency plan on public security in Buenos Aires and the steps taken to address those allegations.

Responses by the Delegation

In response to questions raised by the Committee Experts, the delegation reaffirmed that human rights and truth were fundamental values leading the nation in strengthening, democracy and national unity. 

The Committee had expressed the appreciation for the policies of memory, truth and justice and urged Argentina to continue on that path without weakening existing structures and programs.  Argentina considered human rights as a state policy, and all programs under the Ministry of Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism continued in full in force.  The human rights focus of the institutions and their actions on the ground were deepened and improved.

Argentina agreed on the need to accelerate the judgements for crimes against humanity committed in the past and had no interest in meddling in the functioning of the judiciary which was fully independent.

Argentina continued to pursue in courts cases of crimes against humanity; 593 cases were still active and of those, 222 were currently being prosecuted in courts.  The trial of general Milani was set to start in December this year; he had been the supreme head of the Argentine Army during the last military dictatorship and was being detained and tried for crimes against humanity, kidnapping and torture.

The delegation said that 2,780 persons had been charged as of March 2017, 750 had been sentenced, 794 were being prosecuted, 467 were deceased; many remained who were not yet summoned or were absolved.  There were 1,044 persons who were serving sentences for crimes against humanity, 455 in federal prison facilities, 518 in home arrest and the rest were in health facilities.  A relevant fact and for which a concern had been raised with the justice, was that only 25 percent of those convicted - 187 of the 750 – had received strict sentences.

Argentina maintained an open door policy and was unique and distinctive in the region due to migration, and the society was made of people from 50 different countries and was known for its coexistence in diversity.  The amendments to the migration law were not intended to criminalize migrants and Argentina was conceived that surviving the condition of entry and the residence in the country was a manner to protect human rights.

With regard to the democratization of justice, an ambitious justice reform programme Justice2020 had been adopted and was being implemented with the participation of civil society.

Argentina concurred on the critical lack of data and statistics, which was a product of the past and the errors in policies made by the previous administration, which maintained disconnect between various levels of government as well as justice system at the federal, provincial and district levels.

The post of Ombudsman had been established in the Constitution in 1994.  The procedure for the appointment of Ombudsman called for two-thirds majority of votes in both houses of Congress (qualified majority).  The Ombudsman enjoyed both political and economic independence as it had its budget approved annually by the Bicameral Commission.

Three members of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture were appointed from civil society for a period of four years, and the Committee had to develop activities and work together with non-governmental organizations and local public institutions where there were no conditions for compliance with the Optional Protocol.  Members of the Committee were appointed on the basis of two criteria; the first was their
compliance with ethical integrity, commitment to democratic values and recognized track record in the promotion and protection of human rights and in particular in relation to rights of those deprived of liberty; and second, their ability to maintain independence in opinion and independence.

The law on migration did not cover detention of migrants for reason of migration.  Detention period was only 30 days which could be extended by judicial order and detained migrants were held in appropriate lodging and separate from general prison population.  The expulsion procedure took between eight and ten years to complete, was not possible for crimes carrying less than five years prison; there were the possibilities of appeal, legal aid was provided as was the translation to the language of the migrant. The law therefore respected the Inter-American standards, the standards of the due process and the reality in the country.  Around 21 percent of the prison population in the federal and provincial penitentiary systems were foreigners.

The law on the recognition and protection or refugees established procedures for recognition of refugee status; there was no detention or restriction of freedom of movement.  The non-refoulement principle was the cornerstone of the law.  The refugee status had been granted to 88 persons in 2014 (from Syria), 115 persons in 2015 (from Syria and Ukraine), 170 persons in 2016 (from Syria and Ukraine), and 23 persons in 2017.

Femicide was a stand-alone crime in the criminal code and was defined as a murder of a woman as a result of gender-based violence.  A 114 hotline for gender-based violence was in place and in 2015 more than 22,000 calls had been made – more than half by women victims of violence themselves, and the rest by family members.  In 2015, 233 women had been victims of femicide.

Therapeutic abortion and termination of pregnancy resulting from rape were legal; provinces adopted their own protocols for access to legal abortion.  There were still provinces which did not have those protocols in place.

A commission had been set up to harmonize the criminal code, and criminalization of torture would be examined in that context.  A new bill to amend the code of criminal procedure had been presented, to strengthen investigative process and also to improve the ability of institutions to fight organized crimes.

Awareness-raising, education and training courses of human rights, ethics and prevention of corruption were being delivered to prison staff to strengthen their professional performance and so reduce institutional violence against persons deprived of liberty.

Draft law on setting up the national registry of persons deprived of liberty was being developed by human rights organizations, prosecutor for institutional violence, civil society organizations and other actors.  The bill would soon be presented to the Parliament for adoption.

Situation in detention facilities varied from one province to another and on average, overcrowding stand at ten per cent.  The situation was most grave in prisons in Buenos Aires where an emergency had been declared, and where more than half of the country’s prison population was housed. 

New prisons were being built to address this situation, particularly in the city of Buenos Aires and in Santa Fe province; new buildings would meet the Mandela Rules and other relevant international standards.  Work was also ongoing to rehabilitate the existing detention facilities and expand their capacity.

A series of protocols were in place to guide the prosecutors in the investigation, documentation and prosecution of cases of institutional violence, such as death in custody, torture and ill-treatment, and other forms of violence. 

In 2016 and up to March 2017, the special prosecutor for institutional violence had received 436 cases of institutional violence for different crimes allegedly committed by members of security forces in discharge of their duty or against persons deprived of their liberty.  Of those, 87 had been investigated and 25 prosecuted to date.

The mechanism for reparation and compensation of victims of human rights violations was present in courts under the civil code; entitled to reparations and compensation were victims of terrorism and state inflicted violence, and to date 2,700 persons had been compensated.  There was no system in place to provide disaggregated data on the nature of human rights violations, therefore it was not known how many of those were victims of torture.  The compensation awarded was confidential information, said the delegation.

The legislative processes in provinces for the setting up of local preventive mechanisms had been interrupted by the requirement to ensure that all the criteria and the requirements of the Optional Protocol were integrated in those laws.  Eight provincial mechanisms had been set up which demonstrated varying degree of functionality and success, depending on the particular conditions of each province, the size of prison population and the resources available.

The national register against torture was in place; it had been set up in line with the Commission on Memory and was under the aegis of the University of Buenos Aires.   There was also a registry of the cases of torture which were investigated and prosecuted.  Some provinces had their own registries as well, but there was a need for those systems to better connect and work together, combine data and statistics and so contribute to understanding the situation at the country level.

Follow-up Questions

CLAUDE HELLER ROUASSANT, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Argentina, urged Argentina to ensure that the new revised penal code would firmly criminalize torture and ensure that the definition was fully in line with article 1 of the Convention.  Overcrowding was a serious problem, which led to violence, excessive use of force, torture and ill-treatment.  What were the reasons behind such dramatic increase in prison population, which had doubled over the past 16 years?

Could the delegation clarify the figures provided on cases of institutional violence; how many were investigated and how many prosecuted?

KENING ZHANG, Committee Expert and Co-Rapporteur for Argentina, expressed concern about sex alignment surgeries performed on intersex persons without their consent, as such practices amounted to acts of torture.

JENS MODVIG, Committee Chairperson, inquired about the support provided to the civil society organizations in the context of monitoring of places of detention and about their inclusion in the national preventive mechanism.  How would the national preventive mechanism endow itself of the necessary medical expertise?

Responses by the Delegation

On the dramatic increase in prison population, the delegation said that the reasons were many, from population growth to increase in trans-national organized crime including drug trafficking and trafficking in persons.  Another problem was that around 60 percent of the prison population were in preventive custody, pre-trial detention.

The Public Prosecutor Office was an independent body within the Ministry of Justice; it was independent from the judiciary and operated under the aegis of the Congress.  The independence of the prosecutor was granted in the 1994 constitutional reform.

With regard to sex alignment surgeries on intersex persons, the delegation stressed that everyone in Argentina had the right to body integrity and sovereignty, including intersex persons.  In the law, a child under age of 13 was represented by a legal representative; children aged between 13 and 16 had the right to be involved in any legal procedures involving them and in any procedures involving their body.  They were considered adults in matters of their own bodies from the age of 16.  Consent of the person in question or his or her legal representative was required for a surgery to take place.  The best interest of the child was the leading principle.

The case before the Supreme Court concerning extradition involved a national of the United States charged with the crime which carried the death penalty.  Diplomatic assurances provided by the United States had not been deemed sufficient and the extradition had been halted.

Concluding Remarks

CLAUDIO AVRUJ, Minister for Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism, reiterated the commitment of Argentina to building its young democracy and nation on the basis of the fight for human rights in its broadest conception, which was particularly important given the country’s past.

JENS MODVIG, Committee Chairperson, thanked the delegation for the extensive replies provided during the discussion.
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