CELS goes before the UN to denounce setbacks in rights to protest, housing and the impact of Argentina’s debt

The denouncement was made during the 55th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland. We spoke with special rapporteurs about how the government’s economic and social policies degrade the living conditions of the majority of Argentines.

We participated in the 55th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, where we discussed with various special rapporteurs the measures taken by Javier Milei since assuming the presidency in Argentina. We emphasized that economic austerity cannot justify rights restrictions, arguing that the measures implemented since December 10th have worsened living conditions for the population, especially the most vulnerable sectors.

In Argentina, one in three families lives in inadequate housing, and over 5 million people reside in settlements without access to basic services. Twenty percent of the population must rent to secure shelter. Deregulation of housing policies exposes the population to market abuses. In dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on adequate housing, we highlighted that repealing the Rental Law and defunding infrastructure projects for thousands of informal settlements nationwide have led the Argentine state to neglect its duty to ensure the right to housing. We urged the rapporteur to closely monitor the situation and discourage the government from adopting regressive measures on the right to housing.

We noted to the Independent Expert on the consequences of external debt that the current government’s policies go against the recommendations made in her 2022 visit to Argentina. The austerity measures are pushing the country towards record currency devaluation, inflation, and a decline in real wages, allocating a significant portion of fiscal savings to debt repayment without sufficient social measures. The seventh IMF review is a concerning development that the expert should address to enhance coordination between human rights protection bodies and international financing institutions.

We also highlighted the executive branch’s encroachment on protesters rights, targeting collective organization and undermining key aspects of the right to social protest. We expressed our concern to the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association regarding the protocol issued by the Ministry of Security, which criminalizes street blockades, imposes fines on social organizations for protesting, revokes the ban on carrying firearms during protests by federal forces, and disregards children’s right to protest. This is compounded by threats to individuals attending protests that they will no longer be eligible for social benefits and the constant stigmatization of human rights defenders and social organizations, all aimed at demobilization.  We therefore called on the Rapporteur to conduct an official visit to Argentina to ensure respect for the right to protest.

The UN Human Rights Council convenes in Geneva, Switzerland. This intergovernmental body is tasked with strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide and addressing violations and making recommendations. It has the authority to discuss all thematic issues related to human rights and other situations that require attention. The Council is composed of 47 UN Member States elected by the General Assembly.