In a document delivered to United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, opposition leaders and NGOs in province of Santiago del Estero are denouncing presumed "torture and deaths in police stations” as well as “police harassment and the arbitrary arrest of demonstrators” and “threats to the families of victims and the selective removal of judges and prosecutors."
The document published by Clarín newspaper last week begins: "We direct ourselves to you to bring to your awareness a series of Human Rights violations in the territory of the Argentine province of Santiago del Estero, occasioned by the system operated by the provincial government, which includes police, judicial and political sectors."
The report presented to the UN covers facts reportedly occurring "during and after the years 2020 and 2021" and compiled by the Comité de Lucha contra la Injusticia y la Impunidad Santiago del Estero, an organisation created by the mothers and families of the victims "who have exhausted every political and institutional instance at both provincial and national level to obtain a response to their complaints."
The aim of the actions exposed, they pointed out, is "to silence dissident voices, to protect those in and connected to power, to threaten victims and to cover up criminal networks linked to public officials and their families via a series of actions which constitute typical cases of institutional violence."
The report speaks of a "democratic fragility” in the province, also maintaining that “every opposition voice is persecuted or co-opted by the government structure while the families of the victims and their organisations claim justice."
These institutional actions, they say, "weaken democracy and the rule of law" via "subduing federal justice in Santiago del Estero," arguing that the federal judges "were repeatedly denounced in order to favour the provincial government."