Argentina, one step away from repaying a historical debt with childhood

After fourteen years of apathy, at the end of April, the process of appointing the highest authority of the Defensoría de Niños y Adolescentes ended. The Permanent Bicameral Commission “Defender of the Rights of Children and Adolescents” of the Chamber of Deputies agreed to appoint Marisa Graham as head of the body, thus paying off a historical debt to children. In addition, the commission nominated Facundo Hernández and Fabián Marcelo Repetto to fill the positions as deputy. These proposals have yet to be ratified by both Houses of this Congress.

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The Law on the Comprehensive Protection of the Rights of the Child, enacted in 2005, provided for the appointment of a child defender with specific powers, including initiating collective actions in defense of this historically violated group and supervising to the public institutions that house them. During the years in which the position was vacant, the organizations complained to international human rights organizations about the appointment of a holder.
After more than a decade, in 2019 a decision was reached that was decided after a transparent process of thorough evaluation of the capacities of the candidates. This process had shortcomings on the road and was delayed more than it should. That is why it is urgent that the selection of Graham lawyer is final, so that the agency begins to operate immediately as stipulated by law.
Having a head of the Ombudsman is essential to ensure full compliance with the rights of the child. The signing of the agreement reached by the bicameral commission is fundamental to avoid further deepening the violations of rights that children and adolescents face every day in our country.

Once again, it is important to emphasize that the result of the process, almost unprecedented in Argentina, was based on the principles of transparency and suitability. The selection of Marisa Graham and the Deputy Advocates respected the demands of civil society and now, it is necessary that their position be fixed.

That is why, together with the organizations of Lawyers and Lawyers of the Argentine Northwest for Human Rights and Social Studies (ANDHES), Nuestra Mendoza and Foundation for the Study and Research of Women (FEIM), we present a note to the National Congress requesting the treatment and ratification of the elected authorities of the Ombudsman’s Office in the next session of each Chamber, so that the Act of Comprehensive Protection of Children is effective and immediate.

Click here to see full note


Agustina Palencia, agustinapalencia@fundeps.org