Chapter

Democracy and the (Re) Shaping of Human Rights Politics

David M. K. Sheinin

in Consent of the Damned

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780813042398
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780813043005 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813042398.003.0005
Democracy and the (Re) Shaping of Human Rights Politics

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With the fall of the dictatorship at the end of 1983, Argentines embarked on a three-decade search for answers and justice. All the same, the aftermath of military rule in Argentina did not wipe the slate clean on human rights for the new government of President Raúl Alfonsín. Elected on his reputation as a human rights lawyer, Alfonsín faced immediate intransigence from military officers determined to maintain their failed illusion of a dictatorship in defence of human rights. There was a rapid and extensive creation of human rights agencies. The new bureaucracy was designed to erase the legacies of military rule while creating a culture of human rights that celebrated the victory over dictatorship-era abuses. Argentines were hopeful of swift justice and punishment for newly ousted military leaders. It came, but only in part. In conjunction with shifts in domestic policy, the Alfonsín administration quickly set about making Argentina an international leader on human rights, establishing mandates and deadlines for results that were impossibly optimistic. Faced with a barrage of foreign pressures to make the disappeared appear, the new government’s record was mixed.

Keywords: Human Rights; Argentina; Raúl Alfonsín; Democracy; Dictatorship; Military rule; Justice; Disappeared

Chapter.  12510 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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