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International Relations and Human Rights Observatory

01-31-2024

A monitoring of Argentina’s foreign policy on human rights

CADAL launched the initiative »Point out and shame dictatorships» which consists in comparing the intervention of our country with another one that deserves to be highlighted. For example, last January 23 took place the 4th UPR of China, considered »autocracy», »not free country» and with »closed civic space», where CADAL highlights the intervention of the United Kingdom and invites to qualify Argentina’s intervention to monitor its commitment to human rights and international democratic solidarity.
By Gabriel C. Salvia

With the creation of the Human Rights Council by the UN General Assembly in 2006, it was established that all countries must undergo a Universal Periodic Review (UPR). The UPR includes an interactive dialogue in which UN member countries can make observations and recommendations to the State under review. This space establishes a limit to the principle of "non-interference in internal affairs", recognizing the right of a country to intervene by expressing criticism of human rights violations in the State under UPR.

On intervention through a recommendation or observation, the country under review may accept it, take note of it or reject it. The latter is what dictatorships do, although in the first two cases the recommendations are not binding. In practice, the interactive dialogue during the UPR is the great opportunity to point out and shame dictatorships, which implies solidarity with their victims.

An elementary requirement for a country to point out and shame authoritarian states is to have democratic legitimacy and to submit to the supervision of the UN universal human rights system. However, not all democratic countries that submit to international scrutiny perform equally well under the UN Human Rights Council's review of dictatorships. In general, it is the democracies grouped in the UN as "Western European and Other States" and some former communist countries such as the Czech Republic and Lithuania, the "Like-Minded", that make the most committed interventions in defense of human rights.

From Latin America, the democracies that express themselves with greater commitment to the UPR of dictatorships, do so without taking as much of a risk as the "Like-Minded". This is questionable from a country like Argentina, taking into account the importance of international denunciations during the last military dictatorship and, therefore, the moral obligation to implement an active foreign policy on human rights that "points out and shames" the current dictatorships. Likewise, Argentina's intention to "insert itself internationally" cannot leave aside the assumption in its foreign policy of the universal defense of human rights without double standards.

In order to monitor the foreign policy on human rights of the Argentine Republic, CADAL launched the initiative "Point out and shame dictatorships", which consists in comparing the intervention of our country with another one that deserves to be highlighted. For example, last January 23 took place the 4th UPR of China, considered "autocracy", "not free country" and with "closed civic space", where CADAL highlights the intervention of the United Kingdom and invites to qualify Argentina's intervention to monitor its commitment with human rights and international democratic solidarity.

The UK made 4 recommendations to China: 1) Cease the persecution and arbitrary detention of Uighurs and Tibetans and allow genuine freedom of religion and cultural expression, without fear of supervision, torture, forced enslavement or sexual violence and implement the recommendations of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Xing Zhang; 2) Repeal the national security law in Hong Kong, as recommended by the UN, and cease prosecutions including that of Jimmy Lai; 3) Guarantee judicial impartiality, cease harassment of lawyers, the use of the death penalty and residential supervision in certain locations; and 4) Cease restrictions on civil society in the independent media, cease forced repatriations and stop targeting human rights defenders.

For its part, Argentina's intervention began by congratulating "the Chinese delegation on its achievements in reducing poverty" and then recommended the following to the world's largest dictatorship: ratify all human rights treaties to which China is not yet a party, in particular ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance; continue to collaborate with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and allow more visits and technical exchanges so as to facilitate the implementation of the recommendations made by the High Commissioner, treaty bodies and special procedures and the third cycle of the UPR; and establish a moratorium on the application of the death penalty and examine the possibility of abolishing the death penalty from its legal system.

Finally, comparing both interventions CADAL invited through its social networks to rate the intervention of the Argentine Republic before the 4th Universal Periodic Review of China at the UN Human Rights Council, offering the following options: a) Very committed to human rights; b) Committed to human rights; c) Not very committed to human rights; d) Not at all committed to human rights; and e) Don't know.

With this monitoring, which will continue with the recent UPR of Saudi Arabia, CADAL hopes that Argentina will join the countries of the world that stand in solidarity with the victims of all dictatorships and thus assume an active commitment to the universal defense of human rights.

Gabriel C. Salvia
Gabriel C. Salvia
General Director
International human rights activist. Since 1992 he has served as director of Civil Society Organizations and is a founding member of CADAL. As a journalist he worked in graphics, radio and TV. Compiled several books, among them "Diplomacy and Human Rights in Cuba" (2011), "Human rights in international relations and foreign policy" (2021) and "75 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Views from Cuba" (2023), and he is the author of "Dancing for a mirage: notes on politics, economics and diplomacy in the governments of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner" (2017). He is also the author of several reports, including " The chairs of the Council: authoritarianism and democracies in the evolution of the integration of the UN Human Rights body" and "Memory closed: The complicity of the Cuban revolution with the Argentine military dictatorship".
 
 
 

 
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