Speakers at rights forum warn of resurgence of fascism

Buenos Aires, Mar 21 (EFE).- Defenders of human rights must be ready to “fight for them” every day, former Spanish Judge Baltasar Garzon said here Tuesday at the III World Forum on Human Rights.

Decrying “the indifference that has been permanently the cancer of democracy,” he told attendees on the second day of the event in Buenos Aires, which is organized by the UNESCO International Center for the Advancement of Human Rights.

The one-time crusading magistrate who indicted late Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and now represents jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said that society seems to be stuck in a “loop” which encourages apathy.

Garzon spoke about the migrants who drown in the Mediterranean within view of the European Union, “that club of the decrepit elite who gaze at their own navels.”

Fabian Salvioli, the United Nations special rapporteur for Truth, Justice, and Reparation, called for a “rethinking” of the state.

“Human rights cannot occupy a limited space in governments,” but rather “must be the public policy of states,” he said.

The cofounder of Spain’s leftist Podemos party, a partner in the Socialist-led coalition government, received a strong round of applause when he emphasized the need for political parties amid the threat from the far right in both Latin America and Europe.

Juan Carlos Monedero noted that the Brothers of Italy – heirs of the neofascist Italian Social Movement – have come to power in Italy and pointed to the emergence in Spain of the far-right Vox party.

A former judge of Argentina’s Supreme Court, Eugenio Zaffaroni, said that the Global South’s perspective on human rights differs from the view of the wealthy nations of the north.

“The struggle of the south,” he said, is “against original colonialism and neocolonialism,” describing the latter as the growing concentration of wealth and the plunging of countries into debt through “financialized capitalism.”

“Without social and even socio-ecological cohesion, we will not be able to resolve the issues that threaten us,” International Center for the Advancement of Human Rights director Fernanda Gil Lozano.

All of the speakers Tuesday expressed support for Argentine Vice President Cristina Fernandez, who faces the prospect of being banned from office for the rest of her life if her conviction on corruption charges is upheld.

The accusations date from the 2003-2007 presidency of her late husband, Nestor Kirchner, and from Fernandez’s 2007-2015 tenure as head of state.

Fernandez insists she is innocent and says that prosecutors and judges are engaged in lawfare: the use of the law and judiciary to damage or delegitimize an opponent. EFE vd/dr

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