CESCR takes into account IIMA considerations on Argentina

On the 23rd and 24th of November 2011, on the occasion of the 47th Session of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), the report submitted by the Republic of Argentina was reviewed. The CESCR is a United Nations body of 18 experts that monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by State parties.

During the two-day debate many issues were raised by the members of the committee, regarding especially child labor, right to education, right to water and sanitation. Special attention was paid to indigenous peoples’ situation, in particular with regard to their right to land and to adequate housing.
As reported by IIMA members working in Argentina, indigenous property rights represent a very sensitive issue in the current reality of the country, which brought about social bloodsheds between the indigenous people and mining corporations reclaiming the land because of soil depletion and mineral resources.
The IIMA human rights office in Geneva seized this opportunity to share information received by  IIMA members in Argentina with some of the members of the committee, so that they may include the serious issue of forced evictions in the agenda of the meeting. In particular, the Brazilian expert, Mr. Renato Leão, asked the national delegation to shed light onto numerous cases of violence and demolition of the indigenous native habitats, other than the damage of the rural environment, such things that threatened the lives of the indigenous and forced them to leave their settlements.
The Argentinean representatives, on their own, sharply slammed the use of violence for personal disputes. The State, as the delegation assured, will hustle to cease the turmoil, other than continuing mediation with indigenous people in order to protect their right to land. Moreover, national awareness-raising campaigns against racial and cultural discrimination of indigenous people have been carried out in the last few years. In addition to ongoing reforms, the national delegates ensured that housing complexes will be restored  and new ones will be built soon. The strategic plan indeed aims to cover 3 million of units in the next few years. Also, the State of Argentina committed itself in combating impunity by ensuring that to responsible for murders of indigenous people during the conflicts will be duly prosecuted and punished.
At the end of the meeting, Mr. Leão, while talking with IIMA representatives, recognized that effective results in the protection of human rights can be achieved only though a mutual cooperation among national delegations, UN experts and NGOs.