20 May 2015
Category : Reportage
In the week when the OECD is presenting its report on the economic progress of Latin America, we bring you the reality of Argentina thanks to EUROsociAL.
The European Union cooperation programme for Latin America, EUROsociAL, focuses its work on social cohesion and development in various Latin American countries. One of them is Argentina, where work is being done on several projects for access to justice and prevention of violence in collaboration with the Ministry of Justice.
Kids in the “Jóvenes con más y mejor trabajo” [Young People With More and Better Jobs] programme of the Access to Justice Centre of Santiago del Estero mounted a campaign against institutional violence. Among their actions, the mural created with the slogan of the campaign, “No me pongas la mano encima” [Don’t lay a hand on me], an “open-mike radio show” and a street performance stand out.
The IDLO, the international organisation that supports justice, (with the collaboration of EUROsociAL), held a workshop in Santiago del Estero Province to train young people on how to create their own campaigns to raise awareness about rights, and there was almost no debate: “institutional violence”—and in particular the mistreatment young people experience at the hands of the police—would have to be at the centre of their actions.
According to the IDLO, in Argentina, kids going about their business on the streets know that being detained, chased and possibly arrested by a police patrol on its rounds is a real possibility.
In most cases, there is no real motive for this. The most habitual pretext is “having the face of a criminal” or “looking suspicious”—their appearance is what makes them suspicious. Wearing a track suit or a baseball cap is an aggravating factor. One minute you’re talking to your friends, and the next you’re up against the wall with your things scattered on the pavement and a pair of hands frisking you looking for weapons or drugs.
Since 2013, EUROsociAL has been consolidating various tools for access to justice policies oriented towards different vulnerable groups: besides the young protagonists of this story, it has championed migrant women’s right to justice in Costa Rica, women victims of violence in Honduras, women victims of human trafficking in Chile, the indigenous population in Peru, and African-descended young people in Brazil”.
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