G20 Summit: Argentina authorities must guarantee the right to public protest

“The whole world will be watching Argentina during the G20 Summit” – Erika Guevara-Rosas

The Argentine authorities must respect and guarantee the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly during the G20 meetings in Buenos Aires later this week, Amnesty International said today.

Amnesty is also calling on the security forces to strictly abide by international standards on the use of force ahead of the Summit, which is the first G20 to be held in South America.

Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

“The whole world will be watching Argentina during the G20 Summit. The authorities must rise to the occasion and send a very clear message to security forces to ensure that respect for the right to protest prevails over a repressive approach that could lead to excessive use of force.

“They must dismiss any attempt to stigmatise social protest; the right to demonstrate peacefully is a human right. In carrying out its task of guaranteeing the security of those attending the Summit, Argentina must, at the same time, show that it can ensure the right to protest of those who wish to express their discontent.”

Amnesty has asked Argentina’s Ministry for Security and the Ministry of the Interior for access to public information on preparations for the G20 Summit security operation, the purchase of weapons for this operation, and the measures taken to ensure that the security forces have been trained and have the appropriate means to carry out this task.

In general, the security forces should seek to avoid the use of force. However, it is possible that the need to use force may arise, and therefore officials must have clear instructions and training so that they are able to do so in a way that is legitimate, necessary and proportionate. If they consider it necessary to disperse demonstrators, they must ensure that no other less violent methods can be deployed to achieve the same end. In the event that the security forces do use excessive force, the necessary mechanisms must be put in place to investigate and punish those responsible.

Erika Guevara-Rosas said:

“While Argentina must guarantee the security of the leaders at the Summit, this cannot be used as an excuse to ignore the rights to life and physical integrity of protesters.

“Amnesty International monitors these issues all over the world and has repeatedly shown how, in practice, the use of force in the context of demonstrations violates the principles of proportionality and necessity.”

The G20 Buenos Aires summit from Friday 30 November to Saturday 1 December.

View latest press releases