BUENOS AIRES – Female prisoners in Argentine jails live in “inhuman” conditions of confinement that include mistreatment, torture and health problems, according to a report by non-governmental organizations presented in Buenos Aires.
According to the document, which responds to the United Nations Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, or CEDAW, these conditions constitute a “scenario of systematic violations of human rights” that discredits the Argentine government.
“The situation is made worse by the lack of any consideration for the specific needs of women,” the report, signed by a dozen humanitarian organizations, says.
It questions “the lack of adequate health programs, the persistent practice of violence, mistreatment and torture that inmates undergo, and the continual resorting to stereotypes in the kind of employment they are given in jail.”
All these situations add up to an “illegitimate aggravation” of the living conditions of female detainees, it says.
Close to 60 percent of these prisoners are taken into custody for breaking the drug law and chiefly involve foreign women stopped at the border carrying small amounts of narcotics.
Also noteworthy is the number of women inmates in pre-trial detention – only 39 percent of the female prison population has been sentenced.
According to the report, “numerous complaints have been filed by detained women that reflect a standard of medical care that is insufficient, slow and of poor quality” in the jails.
There have been “many cases in which women have not received treatment nor have been given information on how AIDS is transmitted or on how to prevent it.”
“One great worry is the number of deaths occurring in Argentine detention centers that indicates a government unconcerned about fulfilling its duty to guarantee the life, health and safety of the inmates in its custody,” the document says.
The Argentine Federal Penitentiary Service has registered, between 2006 and last April, the deaths of nine women confined in federal facilities.
In the same period in the province of Buenos Aires, 10 female prisoners died, and in the year 2004, six children living in jail with their mothers died in Buenos Aires.
The report also denounces the practice of violence against female inmates by male security personnel, humiliating searches, isolation and constant relocations of detainees as mechanisms of torture.
The situation of prisoners is only part of this document that records different aspects of the condition of women in Argentina, including sexual health, domestic violence and other gender concerns. EFE