On August 13, 1979, Amnesty International called on the government of Argentina to stop the harassment of human rights organizations in the country.
Amnesty International made the appeal following a raid on August 10 by Argentine security officers on the offices of three leading human rights organizations. During the raid, documentation on people who have disappeared was confiscated. Al said the raid was a “deliberate act of intimidation.”
Amnesty International believes that the raid may have been intended to prevent or discourage human rights groups and relatives of missing and detained persons from presenting information to a forthcoming mission of the Organization of American States (OAS), scheduled to visit Argentina from September 6-20 to investigate allegations of human rights abuses.
Amnesty International urged the responsible Argentine authorities to return all documents seized during the raid—which was ordered by Federal Judge Martin Anzoatagui—to their respective owners. Al also called on the Argentine government to guarantee that there would be no retaliation against anyone testifying before the OAS mission.
Executive Secretary of the OAS, Edmundo Vargas Carreno, said during a recent visit to Argentina that the OAS mission would talk to politicians, labor leaders, and “everyone who feels that his or her rights have not been protected.”
The organizations raided on Friday were the Asamblea Permanente por Los Derechos Humanos, the Liga Argentina por Los Derecho del Hombre, and the Comision de Familiares de Desaparecidos por Razones Politicas. The three, together with other human rights groups in the country, have, since the military coup of March 2, 1976, worked ceaselessly for the defense of human rights.
In May 1979 the Asamblea Permanente published a list of over 5,400 names of persons who, according to its records, have disappeared since the military coup. The information on these cases was provided by friends and relatives of those missing, who approached the organization when all other procedures for finding the missing persons failed.
—From a statement released by Al, August 13, 1979