Argentine women’s minister resigns over arrest of pregnant, breastfeeding Mapuche suspects
Friday, October 7th 2022 – 10:11 UTC
Gómez Alcorta will be replaced by María Cristina Perceval
Argentina’s Minister of Women, Gender and Diversity, Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta, turned in her resignation Thursday over discrepancies with the administration of President Alberto Fernández on the handling of the Villa Mascardi crisis with the Mapuche community.
Gómez Alcorta spoke of serious violations to the human rights of the women detained in the eviction operation, despite announcements from Security Minister Aníbal Fernández that the judge had overseen the procedures and that all assurances had been granted to the detainees.
Gómez Alcorta will be replaced by María Cristina Perceval, who has served under her as Secretary of Equality and Diversity Policies.
The departing minister, who in her private practice as a lawyer has had clients such as Jujuy’s Milagro Sala -a social leader prosecuted for corruption- and Mapuche Ancestral Resistance (RAM) leader Facundo Jones Huala, leaves her post less than a month before the XV Regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean (RCRC) to be held from November 7 to 11 in Buenos Aires.
The situation is extremely worrying. For more than 48 hours they detained 7 indigenous women, one of them a spiritual leader of the community, said Gómez Alcorta Thursday morning.
After learning women had been arrested, one of them 40 weeks pregnant, Gómez Alcorta actively intervened to guarantee the exercise of the human rights of the indigenous women detained in view of the failure of the judiciary to comply with the legislation in force and the international covenants to which the Argentine Republic is a party.
She also denounced the transfer of 4 of the women to the Ezeiza prison 1,500 kilometers away from where they live, without having had contact with a lawyer, without having had any contact with anyone. And the most serious thing is that even today we do not know what they are accused of, she stressed.
Gómez Alcorta’s statement came a day after the Coordinating Committee of the Mapuche Parliament in Río Negro expressed its discontent: ”There has been no intervention from the Ministry of Women, Gender and Diversity of the Nation, nor from the Senaf (National Secretariat of Children, Adolescents, and Family) regarding the situation of the detained babies.”
The women arrested by federal forces were transferred Tuesday to the airport of Bariloche and then on to Ezeiza, presumably on Judge María Silvina Domínguez’s orders. Martha Luciana Jaramillo, Andrea Despo, Florencia Melo, and Débora Vera were transferred to Buenos Aires, under the argument that Bariloche does not have a federal detention center.
Meanwhile, Betiana Ayelén Colhuan and María Celeste Ardaiz Guenumil, who have babies a few months old and are breastfeeding, remain in Bariloche, although the judge had initially ordered their transfer to another prison in Buenos Aires. Both will continue to be detained at the local Airport Security Police headquarters.
Romina Rosas, who was 40 weeks pregnant, has been admitted to the city’s regional hospital.