Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Argentina (CESCR 01-11-2018)

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights considered the fourth periodic report of Argentina (E/C.12/ARG/4) at its 36th and 37th meetings (E/C.12/2018/SR.36 and E/C.12/2018/SR.37), held on 27 and 28 September 2018, respectively, and adopted the present concluding observations at its 58th meeting, held on 12 October 2018.

Concluding observations

C. Principal subjects of concern and recommendations

Human rights defenders and social protest

  1. While acknowledging the State party’s efforts to ensure that its policy and institutional framework allows for social protest, the Committee is concerned at reports of a number of cases of threats and violence in recent years against defenders of the human rights of indigenous peoples, communities of African descent and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons, and at the trend towards violent confrontation and criminalization of persons who seek the restitution of indigenous territories (art. 2 (1)).
  2. The Committee recommends that the State party adopt a comprehensive policy for the protection of human and environmental rights defenders, including actions to prevent attacks against them. In addition, the Committee recommends that the State party combat impunity in such cases by investigating threats, harassment, intimidation and violence and ensuring that perpetrators are punished. In particular, the Committee urges the State party to move forward with investigations of State agents identified as bearing responsibility for acts of violence against indigenous communities. The Committee reminds the State party of its statement of 29 March 2017 on human rights defenders and economic, social and cultural rights.

Sexual and reproductive rights

  1. The Committee is concerned about the high number of unsafe abortions in the State party, which is directly linked to maternal mortality; the obstacles that women encounter when they seek abortion on the grounds provided for by law; the lack of necessary medications; and the adverse impact of conscientious objection by doctors. The Committee also regrets that the bill to decriminalize abortion was not adopted. Finally, the Committee is concerned about the lack of a policy and institutional framework for ensuring that appropriate health services are available to intersex persons (art. 12).
  2. The Committee recommends that the State party:

(a) Adopt effective measures for the implementation, in all provinces, of the 2012 Supreme Court decision[1] on legal abortion, and ensure that all provinces adopt protocols for providing effective access and comprehensive care to girls and women who obtain abortions in the cases provided for under existing law, in accordance with that decision;

(b) Ensure access to medications for safe abortion, including misoprostol and mifepristone;

(c) Establish the necessary legal framework and services to ensure access to abortion in the cases provided for under existing law, with a view to decreasing the number of avoidable maternal deaths, and guarantee access to health-care facilities, supplies and services to meet pre- and post-abortion health-care needs;

(d) Ensure the ongoing supply of short- and long-term contraceptives throughout the national territory, ensuring their accessibility and effective use; improve preventive care; and provide early prenatal care and prenatal monitoring with an intercultural approach, strengthening the joint hospital discharge strategy for high-risk newborns;                                        

(e) Take proactive measures to ensure that laws, regulations and practices concerning conscientious objection, on the part of medical personnel, to performing or assisting in the performance of legal abortions do not obstruct prompt and effective access to abortion and that all persons who seek access to abortion services are treated in a professional manner and with respect for their human dignity;

(f) Take all necessary measures to liberalize the conditions for legal abortion and, in any case, ensure that women who obtain abortions are never criminalized;                                        

(g) Adopt a policy and institutional framework for ensuring that appropriate health services are available to intersex persons.

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