Argentina: Constitutional reform in Jujuy threatens a series of rights, favours lithium producers and triggers protests throughout the province
In June, protests erupted across the province of Jujuy, Argentina, against constitutional reform proposed by Governor Gerardo Morales. A 50-day debate period should have preceded approval of the reform, but Morales presided over a three-week convention that approved changes to 66 of the 212 articles of the provincial constitution.
The reform includes provisions to criminalise public protests and restrictions on freedom of expression, petition and association, as well as revised legal mechanisms aimed at facilitating access to land for multinational lithium-producing companies, threatening the rights of Indigenous peoples.
On 14 June, Indigenous people demonstrated against the reform, erecting barricades throughout the province. Police, aided by unidentified officers using unmarked vehicles, allegedly violently repressed the demonstrations and made a series of arrests.
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) expressed its concern about the way in which attempts are being made to control protests, given that security forces are reportedly abusing their force by firing tear gas and rubber bullets to dissolve non-violent roadblocks that respect the right of way on federal highways. In light of this, the IACHR called on the Argentine State to respect the right to freedom of expression, the standards for the use of force, and to carry out a process of effective, inclusive and intercultural dialogue.