Defence for Children International (DCI) strongly condemns the acts of police violence that caused the deaths of four young people and seriously injured a girl in San Miguel del Monte, province of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Three boys and a 22-year-old boy have died in a confusing police chase during the early hours of Monday morning, in San Miguel del Monte, Buenos Aires. According to police, the young people were travelling “suspiciously” in a car that lost control and crashed into a truck, at the time they were being pursued by a patrol car that was returning from an operation and was trying to identify them.
Local residents have denied the official version through a statement, claiming to have heard gunshots. Additionally, they have presented a video in which a police officer looks out of the window and points a gun at the Fiat vehicle. This is consistent with the impact of a 9-millimeter calibre bullet, the same one used by the Argentinian police, found in the body of one of the victims.
While the investigation remains ongoing and will determine why the officers began the chase, a close relative of the victim who was driving the vehicle has revealed to the Argentinian media that recently local police officers had illegally demanded money from his nephew for not having the papers of the vehicle in order and since then the young man “was marked.
Defence for Children International-Argentina is currently developing a methodological tool with a comprehensive rights-based approach that records, in addition to the complaints, the situation of the victims, an analysis of the supposed or not supposed legitimisation of society, and the use of torture (despite being banned, this continues to be a recurrent practice in the country). This comprehensive, direct and judicial project aims to provide contrasted and truthful information to the State for the development of public policies on the subject and the prevention of violence against children.
Given the facts herein presented, Defence for Children International (35 National Sections, including 7 in the Americas) strongly condemns the use of police force against children and adolescents under all circumstances. All forms of institutional violence against children and adolescents are utterly unacceptable.
We are also gravely concerned about the alleged bribery of security forces and call on the authorities to investigate and resolve these criminal and abusive practices.
We urge the Ministry of Security of the Province of Buenos Aires to adopt the pertinent institutional measures, pursue legal responsibilities and guarantee real and effective justice for victims.
We accompany the families of the young victims in their grief, and remain at their full disposal.
Norberto Liwski, President of DCI-Argentina, or
Phone: (54-011) 4381-4743