The Center for Legal and Social Studies is an Argentine human rights organization founded in 1979 during the last military dictatorship. It promotes the protection of human rights and their effective exercise, justice and social inclusion – both nationally and internationally.

In its early years, CELS fought for truth and justice for the crimes committed under State terrorism. At the end of the 1980s, it expanded its agenda to include human rights violations committed under democracy, their structural causes and their relationship to social inequality. CELS’ actions are aimed at shoring up the democratic State, public policy advocacy, expanding the effective exercise of rights, supporting victims and the search for justice.

Since its beginnings, CELS has coordinated national and international work, particularly with regard to universal and regional protection mechanisms. In recent years, our strategies have expanded toward participation in international discussions on human rights from a Latin American perspective. In this way, CELS is consolidating itself as a national organization with a global agenda.

Today, our key areas of work are: memory, truth and justice for crimes committed in the framework of State terrorism; institutional violence and incarceration policies as areas of human rights violations; social inclusion and social, economic and cultural rights, particularly with regard to access to land and decent habitat; public policy regarding mental health; justice system reforms, the rights of migrant persons, sexual and reproductive rights, and freedom of expression.

To carry out this agenda, CELS resorts to strategic litigation on both the national and international stages, investigation, alliances with other organizations, public policy advocacy and communication. This work is done in alliance with other national, regional and international organizations and movements.