Journal Article

Beyond Transitional Justice: Exploring Continuities in Human Rights Abuses in Argentina between 1976 and 2010

Francesca Lessa

in Journal of Human Rights Practice

Volume 3, issue 1, pages 25-48
Published in print March 2011 | ISSN: 1757-9619
Published online February 2011 | e-ISSN: 1757-9627 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jhuman/hur003
Beyond Transitional Justice: Exploring Continuities in Human Rights Abuses in Argentina between 1976 and 2010

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The article constitutes an initial attempt to combine the insights provided by the disciplines of Transitional Justice (TJ) and human rights, and it originates from a concern with the current situation of human rights in Argentina. Although there have been significant improvements since democratization in the mid-1980s, conditions favouring human rights abuses still persist. In particular, specific human rights abuses (torture, disappearances, and murder) that resemble practices common during the repression under state terrorism (1976 to 1983) continue to take place.

The article has four parts. First, it provides a brief literature review on TJ and investigates the relationship between TJ and human rights. Second, the article offers a concise theoretical background on the notion of impunity, considering its nature and sustaining mechanisms. Third, the case of Argentina is examined, looking at the years of military rule and the reforms undertaken since transition. Fourth, the persistence of continuities between past and present human rights abuses in Argentina is unpacked, by offering an empirical consideration of impunity and its consequences; the lack of successful police reform; and a social context that tolerates human rights violence.

The combined lenses of TJ and human rights can be useful for practitioners to spot continuities in human rights violations and enable them to develop policies and strategies that better address the causes of human rights abuses.

Keywords: Argentina; human rights; impunity; insecurity; police brutality; transitional justice

Journal Article.  9643 words. 

Subjects: Ethical Issues and Debates ; Human Rights and Immigration ; Human Rights ; Politics ; Social Movements and Social Change

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