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Washington, D.C. – The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes the National Congress of Argentina’s recent approval of legislation that creates the System for Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment. The IACHR applauds this action as an important step in protecting the fundamental rights of persons deprived of liberty in Argentina and the fulfillment of this its international obligations on human rights.

The IACHR urges the Argentine government to take the necessary measures so that the system established by the new law has the adequate resources and institutional support necessary to perform its duties effectively and with the autonomy and independence required by its nature and monitoring functions.

The Commission considers that prison systems and places of deprivation of liberty should be subject to constant monitoring and supervision. As the Inter-American Court of Human Rights stated, “The way a detainee is treated must be subject to the closest scrutiny, taking into account the detainee’s vulnerability.” In this sense, prison management in general should be governed by strict criteria of transparency, openness and independent monitoring.

The Commission notes that, at present, fourteen Member States of the OAS have ratified the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OP-CAT): Argentina (11/15/04), Bolivia (11/23/06), Brazil (01/12/07), Chile (12/12/08), Costa Rica (12/01/05), Ecuador (07/20/10), Guatemala (06/09/08), Honduras (5/23/06), Mexico (04/11/05), Nicaragua (02/25/09), Panama (06/02/11), Paraguay (12/02/05), Peru (09/14/06) and Uruguay (12/08/05). Nine of these States have adopted laws creating national prevention mechanisms. In this context, the Commission stresses the importance of the OP-CAT in the fight against torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and urges the rest of the OAS Member States to ratify this instrument as well.olicies and public campaigns and the amendments necessary to bring laws into line with the inter-American instruments on human rights.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

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