Overall, Argentina has taken a liberal stance when it comes to protecting human rights on the international stage while its position on domestic issues was less consistent. In their previous term on the UN Human Rights Council (2013-2015), under the Kirchner administrations, it voted repeatedly to condemn human rights violations in Syria and North Korea (though it abstained on the issue of Ukraine). Argentina recently finished its term on the UNHRC in 2021. It is an active participant in the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process in which every country’s human rights record is periodically reviewed by other countries around the world. Argentina made 397 recommendations, of which a third were regarding a country’s need to sign and ratify international treaties concerning human rights. And under the former government of Mauricio Macri, it voted in favor of a resolution aiming to increase pressure on the Venezuelan government. It consistently contributes financially to the IACHR in varying amounts, but under the Kirchners led an effort to gut the Commission.

Below is a breakdown of Argentina’s actions and votes at the various venues we are monitoring. For more information click on each title and summary.


Freedom House   
Freedom Status  Free
Aggregate Score (100 is perfect freedom and protection of rights) 85
Political Rights (scores out of 40, with 40 being the best) 35
Civil Liberties (scores out of 60, with 60 being the best)  50
Reporters Without Borders  
World Press Freedom Index (scores out of 100, with 1 being the best) 28
Transparency International  
Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 42/100
 Global Rank 78/180
World Justice Project  [1]  
Rule-of-Law Index  0.58
 Regional rank  12/30
 Global rank 48/128
UN Human Development Index  
 Human Development Index 0.845
 Global rank 46
Americas Quarterly (latest report 2016)  
Social Inclusion Index 78.38/100
Regional rank  6/15

United Nations System:

United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC or Council)

Argentina was most recently on the Council from 2019-2021 and previously served from 2013-2015. It is one of the countries that consistently votes to uphold human rights at the Council on the issue of Syria and North Korea, but has abstained on Ukraine.

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UNHRC Resolutions on the conflict in Syria

Resolution 30/10 The grave and deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic voted Yes
Resolution 29/16 The grave and deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic voted Yes
Resolution 28/20 The continuing grave deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic voted Yes
 Resolution 27/16  The continuing grave deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic  voted Yes
 Resolution 26/23  The continuing grave deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic  voted Yes
 Resolution 25/23  The continuing grave deterioration in the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic  voted Yes
 Resolution 24/22  The continuing grave deterioration of the human rights and humanitarian situation in the Syrian Arab Republic  voted Yes
Resolution 23/26 The deterioration of the situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, and the need to grant immediate access to the commission of inquiry  voted Yes
Resolution 23/01 The deteriorating situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic, and the recent killings in Al-Qusayr voted Yes
Resolution 22/24, Situation of human rights in the Syrian Arab Republic voted Yes

UNHRC resolutions on the conflict in Ukraine:

Resolution 29/23 Cooperation and assistance to Ukraine in the field of human rights Abstained
Resolution 26/30 Cooperation and assistance to Ukraine in the field of human rights  Abstained

UNHRC resolutions on the conflict in North Korea:

 Resolution 28/22  Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea  voted Yes
 Resolution 25/25  Situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea  voted Yes
 Resolution 22/13  The situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea  Consensus


UNHRC’s Universal Periodic Review

As part of its mandate to promote human rights around the globe, the UNHRC has instituted a Universal Periodic Review, where, once every four years, each country’s human rights record is examined.  Other countries are invited to review the record and make comments and suggestions for improvement.  The country under review then acknowledges each comment by either “accepting” the comment, meaning typically that they agree to focus on, or “noting” it, indicating that they disagree and will not be focusing on improvements in this area.

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During Argentina’s third cycle 13 delegations made statements in favor of Argentina (Brazil commended Argentina for its commitment to an open and constructive dialogue on the situation of human rights in the country. It welcomed the launch of the National Human Rights Plan and encouraged Argentina to implement the universal periodic review recommendations together with the plan.)

Eight stakeholders made comments (Instituto Internazionale Maria Ausiliatrice (IIMA) and International Volunteerism Organization for Women, Education, and Development (VIDES International) welcomed Argentina’s acceptance of all recommendations regarding the right to education, in particular those aimed at increasing educational infrastructure in the poorest areas.)

The UNHCR President stated that based on the information provided out of 188 recommendations received, 175 enjoy the support of Argentina, and 13 are noted.

The delegation concluded by emphasizing that, as pointed out by both the President and the Vice President of the Republic before the United Nations General Assembly, in Argentina, the promotion of gender equality was a state policy and was part of the top 100 priority objectives of the government.


UN NGO Committee

Argentina has not been on the Committee since at least 1993.

Inter-American System:

OAS Permanent Council

Under the former leadership of Secretary General Luis Almagro, the OAS has re-found its focus on promoting democracy around the region. This was shown most clearly in a meeting in June 2016 where Almagro presented his report on the state of democracy in Venezuela and proposed invoking the Inter-American Democratic Charter. In 2020, Carlos Alberto Raimundi became the Ambassador of Argentina to the OAS.

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Argentina held the Presidency of the Permanent Council in June 2016, when Secretary General Luis Almagro presented his report laying out the evidence on how and why it was necessary to invoke the Inter-American Democratic Charter in Venezuela. Despite endless procedural hurdles thrown up by Venezuela and its allies, Argentina’s representative eventually got the Permanent Council to a vote, albeit on the procedural issue of the agenda and whether Almagro should present his report at all. That vote succeeded, with Argentina joining the majority to allow Almagro to present his findings.

During the 2017 OAS General Assembly, Argentina backed and voted in favor of a resolution that urged the Maduro regime not to convene a constituent assembly that would rewrite the Venezuelan constitution. Despite efforts by Argentina and its allies to pass this resolution, it did not receive the number of votes needed.


Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR or Commission)

It consistently contributes financially to the IACHR and its contributions increased under the Macri government. In 2016, special financial contributions made by Argentina and Mexico helped to overcome the financial crisis the Commission was facing. This made Argentina the main donor to the IACHR among the Latin American countries in 2016.

But under the administration of former President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and then-foreign minister Hector Timmerman, the government, together with the governments of Ecuador, Bolivia, and Venezuela, led an effort to weaken the Commission. The effort eventually failed in a General Assembly vote.

In 2017, the OAS General Assembly had three open positions out of the seven, to become members of the IACHR. Argentina proposed Carlos Horacio de Casas as a candidate. He is a professor of criminal law at Universidad de Mendoza. Horacio de Casas was not elected.

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Hearing Issue
 174th Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) vs Argentina
 173rd Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls in Argentina
 171st  Reports of Torture, Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment in Psychiatric Hospitals in Argentina
 168th  Right to Sexual and Reproductive Health for Women in Argentina
 161st  Justice 2020 program in Argentina
 161st  Regulatory Changes in Migration Matters in Argentina (ex-officio)
 161st  Reports of Repression of Protest and of Unionization in Jujuy Province, Argentina
 159th  Human Rights situation and juvenile justice system in Argentina
159th  Case 12.893- nam qom indigenous community of the Qom People (MERITS), Argentina
157th/158th Right to Freedom of Expression and Changes to the Law on AudioVisual Communication Services in Argentina
 157th/158th  Case 12.056—Gabriel Oscar Jenkins and others
 157th/158th  Human rights situation of persons deprived of liberty in the Province of Mendoza
156th Judicial Independence


Electoral Missions

Argentina has not had any OAS missions to monitor their elections. In fact, Argentina only shares this particularity along with Barbados, Canada, Chile, Trinidad & Tobago, and Uruguay.

Freedom of Information Laws

Since 2000 the right to information and freedom of information laws have expanded across the region. However, the existence of the laws on the books does not necessarily mean full enforcement.

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Signatory/Participant in MESICIC* Yes
Constitutional protection* Yes
Specific law enacted* Yes- enacted in 2004
Is there a presumption of right* Yes
Scope/Exceptions/Overrides* No mention of application to legislature or judiciary; exceptions for classified information and legitimate rights and information of others; no mention of overrides
Received information under FOIA law?** 68%
Received information within a week?** 41%
Received the appropriate information?** 76%

*Data taken from the Global Right to Information ratings, provided by the Center for Law and Democracy. 
**Information from the 2015 World Justice Project Open Government Index


Women’s rights:

Protecting women against gender-based violence is a human rights issue often overlooked globally even though it crosses social, economic and national boundaries. And according to the United Nations Population Fund, gender-based violence undermines the health, security, dignity, and autonomy of its victims. In March 2020, 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries passed or amended laws to sanction crimes against women, classifying them as femicides or aggravated homicides due to gender. However, these laws are not uniformly implemented, and practices to convict perpetrators of gender-based violence are still extremely weak. Although Argentina has high rates of femicide, abortion was made legal in 2021 that allows women to get an abortion for any reason. This made Argentina the largest country in South America to make abortion legal. 

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Often considered as one of the top defenders of human rights, Argentina is behind when it comes to specific legislation on femicide. Currently, Argentina continues to categorize gender-based violence as Aggravated Homicide. Law 26.791 states that perpetrators can be tried for aggravated homicide when the murder of a woman or trans-person was due to gender or when the murderer is the spouse. But without specific legislation, it becomes harder to calculate the actual number of femicide cases and to create the proper policies to tackle the issue. 2018 data shows that the female homicide rate is 1.72 per 100,000 women. In 2020, the number of women killed in Argentina reached a 10-year high under COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, with more than 50 femicides in less than two months.

Argentina is no stranger when it comes to gender-based violence. Argentina saw the birth of the “Ni Una Menos” movement—an Argentinian feminist movement created after the murder of 19-year-old Daiana García, who was found dead in a garbage bag—that spread across the world. The movement put a spotlight on Argentina’s femicide problem: a total of 2,384 women have been murdered by their partners or unknown men in the last nine years. 


Indigenous rights:

7.8 percent of the population in Latin America, roughly 41,813,039 people, identify as indigenous, 49 percent of them live in urban areas and 51 percent live in rural areas.

The Labour Organization’s Convention 169 (ILO 169)

The Labour Organization’s Convention 169 (ILO169)—which has the status of an international treaty—establishes the right of indigenous and tribal peoples to be consulted when a policy or project affects their culture or heritage through what is commonly called “previous and informed consent.” The vaguely worded treaty has been a point of contention in some countries, among governments, investors and communities; and progress in implementing it has been uneven. The Convention has been interpreted, in particular, as applying to issues of national resource extraction and infrastructure development that affect communal lands. In Latin America 16 countries have signed ILO 169. 

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People’s (UNDRIP)

Adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2007, all Latin American countries, except Colombia, which abstained, voted in favor of this declaration. The only four countries to initially reject this declaration were the U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand. While it is not a legally binding instrument, it is an “important standard” for the treatment of indigenous people. The declaration sets out the collective and individual rights of indigenous peoples, as well as their rights to culture, identity, language, employment, health, education, and other issues. It prohibits discrimination against indigenous peoples and promotes their full and effective participation in all matters that concern them and their right to remain distinct and to pursue their own visions of economic and social development. The end goal is to encourage countries to work alongside indigenous communities to solve global issues, like development, multicultural democracy and decentralization.

American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People

In 2016, the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples after a long negotiation of 17 years. The declaration recognizes the collective organization and multicultural character of indigenous peoples, the self-identification of people who consider themselves indigenous and special protection for peoples in voluntary isolation or initial contact. However, the declaration was met with resistance by members of the indigenous community, who complained that they did not have full participation in the negotiations and that the declaration rolled back several rights recognized in UNDRIP. The declaration does not mention the right to previous and informed consultation.

Previous to the declaration, in 1990, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) had created the Office of the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to devote attention to Indigenous Peoples in the Americas and to “strengthen, promote, and systemize the IACHR’s own work in this area. The current Rapporteur on the Right of Indigenous Peoples is Francisco José Eguiguren Praeli, Ambassador of Peru to Spain from 2012 to 2014 and Minister of the Office of Justice. He received a law degree from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru with a master’s degree in Constitutional Law and a PhD in Humanities. Former Rapporteurs include, Rose-Marie Belle Antoine a former IACHR Commissioner and Dinah Shelton an international law consultant for the World Health Organization, the United Nations Environment Programme among other organizations.

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In Argentina, 2.4 percent of its population, 955,032 people, identify as indigenous. Argentina has ratified ILO 169, UNDRIP and the American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

Despite its progressive image internationally, Argentina has been slow to implement its commitments of ILO 69. While there is a bill in draft form to establish the law, the bill has not been presented to the full congress, and there have been no court decisions regarding the right. The implementation of the treaty is hampered by the fact there is no information on indigenous communities in Argentina and thus who would be protected under the right. 


[1]WJP Rule-of-Law Index measures 4 principles: 1) The government and its officials and agents as well as individuals and private entities are accountable under the law; 2) The laws are clear, publicized, stable, and just; are applied evenly; and protect fundamental rights, including the security of persons and property and certain core human rights; 3) The process by which the laws are enacted, administered, and enforced is accessible, fair, and efficient; 4) Justice is delivered timely by competent, ethical, and independent representatives and neutrals who are of sufficient number, have adequate resources, and reflect the makeup of the communities they serve.
[2] AQ Social Inclusion Index uses 23 different factors to measure how effectively governments are serving their citizens, regardless of race or income, and is published annually by Americas Quarterly at the Americas Society/Council of the Americas.
[3] Hearings were scored by Global Americans on a scale of 0 to 3 to evaluate government participation. 0 indicates that the government did not send any representatives to participate. If representatives were present, they were scored from 1 to 3 based on how engaged the representatives were, 1 indicating that they objected to the hearing, to the jurisdiction of the Commission to review the topic or dismissed there being any issue to discuss. A score of 3 indicates full participation of the government, including acknowledgment of the issue and its importance, the jurisdiction of the Commission to review and engagement on how this issue will be addressed going forward.
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