Argentina: Human Rights Defender Convicted For Protesting

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On June 16, 2023, the Constituent Convention of the Province of Jujuy, Argentina, carried out a constitutional reform without participation or publicity, and that could threaten the collective rights and the cosmovision of the Indigenous Peoples. 

As a result of the protests that followed the approval of the partial reform of the Provincial Constitution, violent police repression took place in the province of Jujuy, with serious irregularities, including arbitrary detentions and the excessive use of force by state agents. The response of the security forces of the province of Jujuy to the demonstrations generated significant violations of the rights to life, liberty, personal integrity, peaceful assembly, to defend human rights and freedom of expression, recognised and protected by international law.  

Protests by communities and social and human rights organisations continue in the Province of Jujuy, as the new constitution has not been reversed. In September of this year, an Amnesty International delegation visited the city of San Salvador de Jujuy and the departments of Tumbaya, Cochinoca, Humahuaca, Susques in the Province of Jujuy. The organisation interviewed at least 107 victims and witnesses, including members of more than 15 indigenous communities, lawyers, human rights organisations and local authorities. 

Amnesty International found unnecessary and excessive use of force, including the use of tear gas and rubber bullets at protests, resulting in multiple cases of injuries to those participating in the protest. Amnesty International also heard various accounts of arrests of individuals for merely participating in demonstrations, which amounts to arbitrary deprivation of liberty. It was also reported that victims of state repression avoid filing complaints, fearing prosecution for their participation in the protests. At the same time, the organisation found a significant lack of proactivity on the part of the authorities in investigating possible abuses committed by the security forces during the demonstrations. 

Alberto Nallar is a lawyer and human rights defender; he unfailingly supported the popular mobilisation against constitutional reform and provided support and legal assistance to people detained during the demonstrations and their families. The crime of sedition for which he was convicted is a criminal provision frequently used in the country to criminalise people who exercise the right to social protest, along with obstructing public roads, incitement to commit crimes or resisting authority, among other actions. He was convicted on October 24th by the Oral Criminal Court No. 3 of Jujuy. He has not been detained again because the sentence is not definitive yet. Alberto Nallar will appeal the resolution of the Court.

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