Permanent Assembly for Human Rights
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The Permanent Assembly for Human Rights was founded on December 18, 1975, three months before the military coup that marked the beginning of the dictatorship known as the National Reorganization Process (1976–1983), in the House of Spiritual Exercises within the Church of Santa Cruz, as a result of an initiative of Rosa Pantaleón. Other founders included the Bishop of Neuquén, Jaime de Nevares; Rabbi Marshall Meyer; Bishop Carlos Gatinoni; Alicia Moreau de Justo; Raúl Alfonsín; Oscar Alende; Susana Pérez Gallart; Adolfo Pérez Esquivel and Alfredo Bravo.
The APDH played an important role in the defense of human rights during the military dictatorship. Later it supported the work of CONADEP fights against the impunity of the crimes against humanity committed during the National Reorganization Process.
Currently, the APDH works to consolidate democracy, defending the protection of life, human dignity, and social coexistence. In order to ensure the legal protection of human rights, the APDH participates in the following organizations:
• The United Nations (with Category II Consultative Status)
• UNESCO´s Memory of the World Register: documental heritage of the APDH
• IEM Space for the Memory Institute
• INADI National Institute Against Discrimination, Xenophobia, and Racism
• PIDHDD Argentine Chapter of the Interamerican Platform for Human Rights, Democracy and Development
• National Network NO A LA TRATA (an organization which works to stop trafficking, slave trade, and commercial sexual exploitation of children and adolescents)
How it works
The APDH follows current events in Argentina and analyzes them with regard to human rights. These tasks include:
• Denouncing human rights violations
• Negotiating before public authorities, institutions and entities specifically relevant to these rights
• Developing educational initiatives aimed at educating individuals about these rights
• Spreading National Constitution rulings : pacts, declarations, conventions, etc.
• Advising victims of human rights violations
• Working with brother organizations to ensure that human rights are respected
• Promoting the sanction of those laws necessary to ensure the protection of human rights
The APDH is primarily made up of volunteers. Its headquarters are located in Buenos Aires and the organization has subsidiaries in other cities throughout Argentina.
Its principle tasks include:
• Watching over the prosecutions of crimes against humanity committed between 1976 and 1983;
• Keeping the memory of this period alive as a reminder of the necessity of civic action;
• Organizing documentation from and about the mechanisms of repression;
• Collaborating in the improvement of national and international standards of human rights;
• Permanently acting before the government to prevent and denounce human rights violations.
• Presidents’s Council: A body composed of members from various sectors of society: the church, politics, human rights, sciences, culture, and labor. They meet annually. They examine the reports of the Secretaries and set the Assembly’s agenda.
• Board of Directors: Made up of members from the Presidents’s Council. They meet monthly. They examine the reports of the Secretaries. They also determine what actions to take in order to fulfill the objectives set out by the Presidents’s Council’s agenda.
• Executive Committee: Composed of the presidents, vice-presidents, secretaries on the board of directors, the treasurer, and the coordinating secretary. It meets weekly. It carries out tasks established by the Board of Directors and keeps them updated on their progress.
• Committees: Specialized groups composed of specific commissions which carry out the committees´ aims. They gather information about the state of the nation, carry out studies, and produce reports and proposals of documents. They organize conferences, debates, seminars, and publications.
In 2008, the three co-presidents of the APDH are Methodist Bishop Aldo M. Etchegoyen, Sister Martha Pelloni, and Mr. Miguel Monserrat.
Some of the individuals that compose the APDH are: journalists Santo Biasatti and Luisa Valmaggia, writer Ernesto Sábato, religious leaders Monsignor Justo Laguna and Rabbi Daniel Goldman, painter Noé Jitrik, singer León Gieco, scientist Federico Westerkamp, lawyer Raúl Zaffaroni, and labor unionist Marta Maffei.
The APDH has produced numerous publications (in Spanish) related to human rights. Amongst these are:
• National Security, a republican system of government and individual rights (Seguridad Nacional, sistema republicano de Gobierno y derechos individuales)
• The Forced Disappearance of Persons (La Desaparición forzada de Personas)
• The Disappearance as a crime against humanity (La desaparición como crimen de lesa humanidad)
• “Racism and violence” (about ethnic groups in history within scholarly texts) (Racismo y violencia (sobre la historia y las etnias en los textos escolares))
• The working woman and her rights (La mujer trabajadora y sus derechos)
• Domestic violence – Battered women (Violencia familiar-Mujer golpeada)
• Drug addicts, Victims or Culprits? (Drogadictos, ¿víctimas o culpables?)
• Life Workshops “Human Rights Education” (Talleres de Vida" Educación por los derechos humanos)
• Women’s human rights 50 years after the Universal Declaration (Los derechos humanos de la mujer a los 50 años de la Declaración Universal)
• Found guilty by society, unpunished by the law (Culpables para la sociedad, impunes por la ley)
• Women’s rights, are they human rights? (Los derechos de la mujer, son derechos humanos?)
• Estimates of the Dirty War (Las cifras de la guerra sucia)
• Reproductive rights are human rights (Los derechos reproductivos son derechos humanos)
• Economic issues and human rights (Orden económico y derechos humanos)
• Fundamentals of human rights (Fundamentos de los derechos humanos)
The following publications (in Spanish) can be viewed on-line:
• Buenos Aires: Azul, Campana, Chascomùs, Berazategui, La Costa, La Matanza, Lomas de Zamora, Mar del Plata, Olavaria, San Miguel, Tres Arroyos.
• Córdoba: Córdoba (city), Río Tercero, Villa María.
• Entre Ríos: Concepción del Uruguay.
• Formosa: Formosa (city).
• Mendoza: San Rafael.
• Misiones: Posadas.
• Río Negro: Bariloche, El Bolsón.
• San Luis: Merlo, San Luis (city).
• San Juan: San Juan (city).
• Santa Fe: Rosario.
• Santiago del Estero: Santiago del Estero (city).
• Tierra del Fuego: Ushuaia.
• Tucumán: San Miguel de Tucumán (city).
- http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/arg/apdh/20.html, APDH, 20 Years of the APDH (in Spanish)