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Cultural Survival Condemns Violent Repression in Jujuy, Argentina and Raises Concerns about Limits to Indigenous Rights

On June 15, 2023, the Constitutional Convention of the province of Jujuy, in the north of Argentina, approved a constitutional reform that severely rolls back achievements made at the national level in terms of human rights and Indigenous Peoples’ rights. The reform also criminalizes the act of protesting. 

The constitutional reform took place without consultation or Free, Prior and Informed Consent from Indigenous Peoples even though representatives of the seven Peoples of the province demanded to participate in the process

In a context of excessive extractivism in Jujuy, the reform modifies article 36 on the right to private property, facilitating speedy mechanisms for eviction and leaving Indigenous communities inhabiting the region at a clear disadvantage to other types of land owners. These changes only advance and protect mining interests to the detriment of the rights of Indigenous Peoples, whose lands are already threatened because of the increasing extraction of transition minerals such as lithium. 

On June 16, protests against the illegitimate reform began across different parts of the province. Jujuy’s government has responded disproportionately to these protests with violent repression, using rubber bullets and tear gas against demonstrators, leaving many of them injured. At least 40 people have been arbitrarily arrested, most of them Indigenous women. Some of them have been released, but others are still detained.  

On June 20, the constitutional reform was adopted and Indigenous Peoples are still protesting to try to stop such violations of their rights. Their demand, echoed by human rights organizations that support them, is that the constitutional reform be urgently suspended, as it represents a serious setback in terms of human rights and Indigenous Peoples’ rights and goes against the order of authoritativeness of laws such as the right to Free, Prior and Informed Consent, which is enshrined in several international treaties and declarations endorsed and ratified by Argentina. Argentina ratified the International Labour Organization Convention 169 in 2000 and in 2007 voted in favor of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. 

Cultural Survival: 

  • Emphatically rejects the violent repression by state forces against Peoples participating in the protests. 
  • Demands that Indigenous Peoples’ self-determination is respected and that Indigenous Peoples from Jujuy are consulted regarding any legislative change directly affecting them and that their right to give or withhold Free, Prior and Informed Consent is respected in alignment with Article 19 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
  • Urges that the provincial legislature of Jujuy respect Indigenous Peoples’ demand to suspend the constitutional reform.



Photo courtesy of Red Chacha Warmi.