Mission in Argentina

Press Release

Via Campesina (International Movement Peasants) and FIAN (International Organization of Human Rights), in the frame of Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform that impel together realized during the days 17th to 28th of April, 2004 a Mission of Investigation and Solidarity in Argentina, as part of Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform. This mission was realized with the organization and support of peasant organizations like MOCASE, APENOC, Red Puna, UST, MTD "Anibal Verón". The objective of Global Campaign for Agrarian Reform is to obtain the effective implementation of the programs of Agrarian Reform in the different countries, one of the strategies of the Campaign is the realization of International Fact-Finding Missions that allow to reflect the problems of implementation policies of agrarian reform in the respective countries.

The investigation mission that was realized in Argentina had like objective to analyze to the light of the international obligations of Human Rights the agrarian, agricultural and social policy of the Argentine Government, in special the violations of the Human Rights of the peasant communities, indigenous and unemployed people. In particular, the Mission approached the following subjects: to investigate the situation of agrarian conflicts that involves to rural and indigenous workers, as well as to analyze the agrarian and agricultural policies adopted by the Argentine Government, to investigate the situation of the vacated workers and the social programs of the Government, to denounce national and internationally the violations of Human Rights related with the agrarian situation and to elaborate a report to be given to the Organization of United Nations again.

In January 2003, FIAN (member of Global Campaign) together with EED realized a mission and elaborated a report that was presented to the UN. In that report was denounced the situation of the agrarian conflicts, in special in Santiago del Estero, moreover to the serious situation of hunger in Tucumán and the Unemployed people in Buenos Aires. Of this situation denounced in the present Mission of Verification we have stated that the recommendations presented in the report have not been implemented and that the situation is but serious even.

The mission verified the situation of the peasants, indigenous and unemployed people in part of the provinces of Buenos Aires, Misiones, Córdoba, Mendoza, Santiago del Estero, Jujuy and Salta. As result of the verifications can be indicated:

Misiones: In the Department of San Pedro, more of 480 families of several peasant groups and indigenous, different places, are being expelled from their land, where they live several years ago, by lumber companies with the purpose continuing depredating the forests and other natural resources that by generations the peasants and indigenous have taken care of.

Córdoba: Particular case in this Province is the one of Mrs. Ramona Bustamante, where the Mission verified the critical situation in that she is living (in houses of plastic in the middle of the local road) after two violent evictions on the part of the police that has destroyed her house and affected the water hole where she was supplied for the human consumption and her animals. This is hardly one of the many cases that appear in the Province, since many families of the communities of El Sur, El Duraznal, San Roque, San Antonio, Campo Alegre, presented denunciations on conflicts of land and water. The land’s conflicts occur because the landowner are taking control of the land of the peasants to extend their cattle production and soybean, these actions its realizes with the support of civil and military authorities, cases of penalty and criminalization to the men and women of the field appear when they defend and demand their rights.

In the communities of Las Habras and Iglesia Vieja the problem is in the unjust distribution of the water, since the infrastructure and the distribution favor to the few great producers in damage of most of the population that are small producers. In the north of the Province, in the communities of Tosca and Tuscal the problem is the lack of water, land and food sovereignty .

In this province the land problems are originated by the insecurity of the land tenancy since an ample sector does not have title of property, but that have been possessors for several generations. The valuation of the land as product of the expansion of the cattle and the soybean has deepened the problems of the land tenancy, since that who they have money is expelling to the peasants and in correspondence the State favors to the landowners.

Mendoza: In the locality of San Francisco and Jocolí – Department of Lavalle, the mission could verify and receive denunciations, related to problematic of land and water. It stated great extensions of fiscal and particular land unproductive, as well as the concentration of the water in few hands. However many families do not have access to the land and water, moreover of which they are being evacuated, with burn of houses and police violence.

Santiago del Estero, it could state that continue the evictions with illicit associations of polices, judges, armed groups and landowners oriented to the persecution, threats of death, privation of the freedom, kidnapping and tortures physics and moral of peasants that fight by their rights to the land, water, health and the preservation of the forests.

In several communities of the Departments Atamisqui, Moreno and Juan Felipe Ibarra denunciations of problems by insecurity of the land tenancy were observed and received. Particularly serious is the situation of the property Lote 5 of the community El Colorado when we observed burns of several houses after violent evictions on the part of landowners who moreover threaten of death and have shot against peasants and their leaders. In this case as in others the interest is for the extension of the cultivation of soybean.

In communities of the Departments Copo and Pelegrini, the verified situation is that members of aborigines communities are being expelled by landowners with the support from police authorities that have destroyed cultivations, houses, arrested members of the community.

Jujuy: From the regions Puna and Quebrada were received denunciations of the aborigines communities of Yavi, Susques, Cochinoca, Rinconada, Santa Catalina, Tumbuya, Tilcara and Humahuaca about land conflicts in fiscal and private properties. Although a program exists to title the land that have been into the hands of the aborigines communities these actions have not been implemented, but interest on the part of the authorities is pronounced so that part of the aborigines land are operate it for the mining and the tourism.

Salta: The mission could verify that communities Guarani Municipality of Oran, have been evictioned and follows harassed by Ingenio Azucarero "Tabacal" of North American capital, so that they leave their land where they have lived for many years and the monoculture of the sugar cane can be extended.
Also was received the denunciation of violations of the right of the indigenous community Wichi that from 1986 initiated a judgment of twentieth possession about the titulation of 1253 hectares of land and that even is not there sentence of the judge for which can work the land.

Buenos Aires: It verified and received denunciations of organizations of unemployed people related to the political handling of the social plans, that has entailed to the exclusion and discrimination of many poor families, many families are terminated of the social plans without having a solid argumentation by part of the responsible authorities of the execution of the different social projects that moreover exclude the young people and the greater people of age. Denunciation was received about the violent eviction that had the cooperative of the inhabitants of the locality of Barraca, that have 11 years to fight for conquer a piece of land and that at the present time is living under the lines of the train.

Of general way it could verify and receive denunciations related with:

  •  It verifies that the social plans do not respond to the social and economic problems of the population because they are insufficient as far as cover and assigned amounts, violating the equality and universality principles, as well as the irregularity and distortion in their implementation, many of the people that receive a financial contribution must work in properties of landowners or political civil employees or the state.
  • The agriculture of agro exportation like soybean, the cattle and the lumber operation is deepening the agricultural borders at which entail to the violent expulsion of their land to peasants groups and aborigines communities. Moreover that already begins to present problems of illnesses like effect of the air fumigations in plantations of cultures bordering to the houses of the communities.
  • The agrarian conflicts are not solved satisfactorily by the authorities, since in their majority the judicial and police authorities favor to the landowners.

There is not in the field a presence of the state to give solution to the serious agrarian conflicts, as well as to know and solve the existing problems in the health, education, productive infrastructure, justice and others.

We have been able to verify that exist a serious situation of non-compliance of the most elementary Human Rights of peasant communities, aborigines and populators unemployed people. Situation that implies the non-fulfillment on the part of the State in its different levels from the obligations to respect, protect and guarantee the Rights to feeding, land, water, productive resources, health, education and other social, economic and cultural rights of the sectors most vulnerable of the society of Argentina.

Before this situation we recommended to the State of Argentina, a high-priority attention to this situation taking the suitable measures to solve the problematic about the land, water, employment. An aspect fundamental to solve this problematic is that makes altogether with the social organizations that represent these communities.

Buenos Aires, Argentina April 28th 2004