The criminal procedure confronted by Reina Meraz, a Bolivian immigrant woman, exposes a double issue of the Argentinian judicial system: the need to train judicial officers in both gender perspective and interculturalism. Reina was subjected to a procedure that neglected her native tongue, Quechua, and was condemned to a life sentence on the back of a defective argumentation that disregarded the dynamics of gender violence. Ultimately, Reina was absolved amid a context of popular and feminist mobilizations, and concerted efforts between State agencies, non-governmental organizations and social movements.*
Indigenous peoples in Argentina
According to the last national census in the country (2010), there are 955,032 people in Argentina who self-identify as descended from or as indigenous peoples. There are 35 different officially-recognised indigenous peoples that hold legally specific constitutional rights at a federal level and in various provincial states.
Argentina has voted in favour of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and ratified ILO Convention 169. The country has also ratified other universal human rights instruments such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the International Covenant on Economic and Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR).
Indigenous peoples in Argentina
Argentina is a federal country with 23 provinces and with a national population of almost 40 million people. According to the 2010 national census, 955,032 people self-identify as or as a descendant of indigenous peoples.
Main challenges for Argentina’s indigenous peoples
The tensions and conflicts over indigenous peoples’ land claims worsened in 2017. The State of Argentina failed to guarantee and enforce indigenous rights over land, and moreover, criminalised the members of indigenous communities who called out for this failure. In the context of this scenario and the confrontation between the two parts, there have been numerous acts of violence, and even deaths of indigenous activists, as it is the case of Santiago Maldonado.
The tension over land sees one of its roots in the economic interest in extractive activities on the territories claimed by indigenous peoples, as guaranteed rights of indigenous peoples, is incompatible with the neo-developmentalist economic model that is based precisely on these extractive activities.
Potential progress for Argentina’s indigenous peoples
With the aim of reducing levels of violenece, spaces for intercultural dialogue were created during 2017. The peace and intercultural dialogue committee7 that was created nationally brought together representatives of different political spaces, civil society organisations, intellectuals, with the aim of finding a political response to the tensions that would enable Argentina to set aside the use of force when resolving territorial conflicts, and instead find peaceful and agreed solutions.
Some of the documents that have emerged from this space reflect on the portrayal of indigenous Mapuche as violent terrorists.
Argentina is a country made up of 23 provinces, with a total population of approximately 40 million people. The most recent national census in 2010 gave a total of 955,032 people self-identifying as descended from or belonging to an indigenous people.1 There are 35 different officially-recognised indigenous peoples in the country. They legally hold specific constitutional rights at the federal level and in various provincial states.
Argentina comprises 23 provinces with a total population of approximately 40 million. The most recent national census (2010) gave a total of 955,032 people who self-identify as descended from or belonging to an Indigenous people. There are 35 different officially recognised Indigenous Peoples in the country. They legally hold specific constitutional rights at the federal level and in various provincial states.