Argentina's Terror Law Infringes on Civil Liberties: Does Protection Come At a Cost?


Argentina recently enacted a law providing a wide definition of what the government recognizes as terrorism.

The law enables police to imprison people for a range of activities loosely connected to terrorism for up to 15 years. The Argentine government claims that the law is essential to combat money laundering and financial crimes within the country. But the law's effort to rid terrorist group financing is ironically terrorizing the average citizen and their rights in Argentina. This law is not the correct approach in policy making, aimed to align national law with international goals, but which jeopardizes rights.

Among the opposition to the law are organizations and people such as: Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo Association, The Centre for Legal and Social Studies (CELS), The Civil Rights Association, Supreme Court justice Eugenio Zaffaroni, and The Progressive Broad Front.

Their concerns include the suppression of public protest, unlawful evictions, human rights violations, extortion by law enforcement, and unjust demand to gain private land.

In response, the Argentine government added a sanction that would emphasize that the exercise of human, social, and constitutional rights would not be taken away from the people of Argentina.

Argentina’s terror law heightens fear of the government’s power to encroach on their daily lives. Human rights advocates have paralleled the Argentine law to America’s recently-passed National Defense Authorization Act, which made it easier for the U.S. Armed Forces to apprehend and detain without due process any suspected terrorist or affiliate.  

Both governments have ensured that these bills would not be a threat to civil liberties, and that the constitutions of their government would protect them. 

Is curbing civil liberties while protecting citizens from terrorism a necessary evil in the global war on terror?

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