Human & Constitutional Rights, Documents

CONSTITUTION OF THE ARGENTINE NATION

Santa Fe - Parana
-1994-

FIRST PART

Chapter I

Declarations, Rights and Guarantees

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Article 14. All inhabitants of the Nation enjoy the following rights, in accordance with the laws that regulate their exercise, namely: of working in and practicing any lawful industry; of navigating and trading; of petitioning the authorities; of entering, remaining in, travelling through and leaving the Argentine territory; of publishing their ideas through the press without prior censorship; of using and disposing of their property; of associating for useful purposes; of freely practicing their religion; of teaching and learning.

Article 14 bis. Labor in its diverse forms shall enjoy the protection of the law, which shall ensure to workers: dignified and equitable working conditions; a limited working day; paid days of rest and vacation; fair remuneration; adjustable minimum living wages; equal pay for equal work; a share in the earnings of enterprises, with control over production and collaboration in management; protection against arbitrary discharge; permanence of public employment; free and democratic organization of labor unions, recognized simply by inscription in a special register.

Trade unions are hereby guaranteed: [the right] to conclude collective bargaining agreements; [the right] to resort to conciliation and arbitration; the right to strike. Union representatives shall enjoy the guarantees necessary for the performance of their union tasks and those relating to the permanence of their employment.

The State shall grant the benefits of social security, which shall be comprehensive and unwaivable. In particular, the law shall establish: compulsory social security, which shall be under the charge of national or provincial entities having financial and economic autonomy, administered by the interested parties with State participation, but without the existence of overlapping contributions; adjustable retirement pay and pensions; full protection of the family; protection of the welfare of the family; economic compensation to families and access to decent housing.

Article 15. In the Argentine Nation there are no slaves; the few that exist today are free from the promulgation of this Constitution; and a special law shall regulate the indemnification arising from this declaration. Any contract of purchase and sale of persons is a crime for which those performing it, and the notary or official approving it, shall be responsible. And slaves, by whatever manner they may be introduced, shall be free by the mere act of setting foot in the territory of the Republic.

Article 16. The Argentine Nation does not allow prerogatives of blood or birth; in it there are no personal privileges [to special legal rules or courts] or titles of nobility. All its inhabitants are equal before the law, and admissible for [public] employment without any other requisite than fitness. Equality is the basis of taxation and of public charges.

Article 17. Property is inviolable, and no inhabitant of the Nation can be deprived thereof except by virtue of a judgment supported by law. Expropriation for reasons of public utility must be authorized by law and previously indemnified. Congress alone imposes the taxes mentioned in Article 4. No personal service can be required except by virtue of a law or a judgment supported by law. Every author or inventor is the exclusive owner of his work, invention or discovery for the term granted him by law. The confiscation of property is stricken out forever from the Argentine Penal Code. No armed body may make requisitions, or demand assistance of any kind.

Article 18. No inhabitant of the Nation may be punished without prior trial based on a law in force prior to the offense, or tried by special commissions, or removed from the jurisdiction of the judges designated by the law in force prior to the offense. No one can be compelled to testify against himself, or be arrested except by virtue of a written order from a competent authority. The right to due process in the defense of the person and of rights is inviolable. The residence is inviolable, as are letters and private papers; and a law shall determine in what cases and for what reasons their search and seizure shall be allowed. The penalty of death for political offenses, all kinds of torture and flogging are forever abolished. The prisons of the Nation shall be healthful and clean, for the custody and not for the punishment of prisoners confined therein; and any measure that under the pretext of precaution leads to mortifying them beyond what their custody demands, shall render liable the judge who authorizes it.

Article 19. The private actions of men that in no way offend public order or morality, nor injure a third party, are reserved only to God, and are exempt from the authority of the magistrates. No inhabitant of the Nation shall be compelled to do what the law does not order, or be deprived of what it does not forbid.

Article 20. Foreigners enjoy in the territory of the Nation all the civil rights of a citizen; they may engage in their industry, trade or profession, own, purchase or transfer real property, navigate the rivers and coasts, freely practice their religion, [and] make wills and marry in accordance with the laws. They are not obligated to assume citizenship, or to pay extraordinary compulsory taxes. They may obtain naturalization by residing two continuous years in the Nation, but the authorities may shorten this term in favor of anyone so requesting, upon their asserting and proving services to the Republic.

Article 21. Every Argentine citizen is obliged to bear arms in defense of his country and of this Constitution, in accordance with such laws as the Congress may enact to that effect and with such decrees of the National Executive. Citizens by naturalization are free to render or not render this service for a period of ten years counted from the date on which they obtain their citizenship papers.

Article 22. The people do not deliberate or govern except through their representatives and authorities created by this Constitution. Any armed force or meeting of persons that attributes to itself the right to stand for the people and to petition in their name, commits the crime of sedition.

Article 23. In the event of internal disorder or foreign attack that endangers the exercise of this Constitution and of the authorities created thereby, the Province or territory in which the disturbance of order exists shall be declared in a state of siege and the constitutional guarantees shall be suspended therein. But during such suspension the President of the Republic may not convict or apply punishment upon his own authority. His power shall be limited in such a case, with respect to persons, to arresting them or transferring them from one point of the Nation to another, should they prefer not to leave Argentine territory.

Article 24. Congress shall promote the amendment of all categories of existing legislation, and the establishment of trial by jury.

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Article 29. Congress may not confer on the National Executive, nor Provincial Legislatures on the Provincial Governors, extraordinary powers, or the whole of the public authority, nor grant them acts of submission or supremacy whereby the lives, the honor or the property of Argentines will be at the mercy of governments or any person whatsoever. Acts of this nature shall be utterly void, and shall render those who formulate, consent to or sign them liable to be called to account and punished as infamous traitors to the country.

Article 30. The Constitution may be amended in its entirety or in any of its parts. The need for its amendment must be declared by the Congress by a vote of at least two-thirds of its members; but the amendment shall not be accomplished except by a Convention called for such purpose.

Article 31. This Constitution, the laws of the Nation that as a result thereof may be enacted by the Congress, and treaties with foreign powers, are the supreme law of the Nation, and the authorities of every Province are bound to conform to it, notwithstanding any provision to the contrary which the Provincial laws or constitutions may contain, except, in the case of the Province of Buenos Aires, [for those provisions established by] the treaties ratified following the Pact of November 11, 1859.

Article 32. The Federal Congress shall not enact laws that restrict the freedom of the press or that establish federal jurisdiction over it.

Article 33. The declarations, rights and guarantees that the Constitution enumerates shall not be construed as a denial of other rights and guarantees not enumerated therein, but which issue from the principle of the sovereignty of the people and from the republican form of government.

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Chapter II

New Rights and Guarantees

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Article 37. This Constitution guarantees full enjoyment of political rights, in accordance with the principle of popular sovereignty and with the laws dictated pursuant thereto. Suffrage is universal, equal, secret and mandatory.

True equality of opportunity between men and women in running for elected and party offices shall be guaranteed through affirmative actions in the regulation of political parties and in the electoral system.

Article 38. Political parties are fundamental institutions of the democratic system.

Their creation and the exercise of their activities are free, so long as they respect this Constitution, which [hereby] guarantees their democratic organization and operation, the representation of minorities [within the party], the authority [of parties] to nominate candidates to elected public office, access to public information and the dissemination of their ideas.

The State shall contribute to the financial support of their activities and educational improvement of their leaders.

Political parties must make public the source and destination of their funds and their economic net worth.

Article 39. Citizens have the right of initiative in presenting bills in the Chamber of Deputies. Congress must give them express treatment within the period of twelve months.

By an absolute majority vote of the totality of the members of each Chamber, the Congress shall pass a regulatory law that may not require [the signatures of] more than three percent of the National electoral register [for an initiative to be valid], [with the regulatory law] requiring an adequate territorial distribution [of signatures] to endorse the initiative.

Bills referring to constitutional reform, international treaties, taxes, the budget and penal matters shall not be the subject of popular initiatives.

Article 40. At the initiative of the Chamber of Deputies, Congress may submit a bill to a popular referendum. The law calling for the referendum may not be vetoed. The affirmative vote on the bill by the people of the Nation shall make it law and its enactment shall be automatic.

Congress or the President of the Nation, within their respective competence, may call for a non-binding popular referendum. In this case, voting is not obligatory.

Congress, by an absolute majority vote of the totality of the members of each Chamber, shall regulate the topics, procedures, and occasion for popular referendum.

Article 41. All inhabitants enjoy the right to a healthful, balanced environment fit for human development, so that productive activities satisfy current needs without compromising those of future generations, and have the duty to preserve the environment. Environmental damage shall generate as a priority the obligation to repair it under the terms that the law shall establish.

The authorities shall provide for the protection of this right, for the rational use of natural resources, for the preservation of the natural and cultural patrimony and of biological diversity, and for information and education on the environment.

It falls to the Nation to dictate laws containing a minimum budget [necessary] for protecting the environment, and to the Provinces [to dictate] those laws necessary to complement the National laws, without such laws altering local jurisdictional [authority].

The entry into the National territory of dangerous or potentially dangerous wastes and of radioactive materials is prohibited.

Article 42. Consumers and users of goods and services have the right, in the consumer relationship, to the protection of their health, safety and economic interests, to adequate and truthful information, to freedom of choice, and to conditions of equitable and dignified treatment.

The authorities shall provide for the protection of these rights, for consumer education, for the defense of competition against any type of market distortion, for the control of natural and legal monopolies, for the quality and efficiency of public services, and for the establishment of consumer and user associations.

Legislation shall establish effective procedures for the prevention and resolution of conflicts, and a regulatory framework for public services within National jurisdiction, taking into consideration the necessary participation of consumer and user associations and of the interested Provinces in the directing bodies.

Article 43. Any person may file an expeditious and swift action of "amparo," whenever no other more appropriate judicial means exists, against any act or omission by public authorities or by private individuals, that presently or imminently harms, restricts, alters or threatens, in an arbitrary or manifestly illegal manner, the rights and guarantees recognized by this Constitution, by a treaty, or by a law. As appropriate, the judge may declare the norm upon which the harmful act or omission is founded unconstitutional.

[When] this action complains of any form of discrimination, or regards the rights that protect the environment, competition, the user, the consumer, or rights of a collective nature in general, it may be brought by the affected party, the Defender of the People, and the associations that support these ends that are registered as required by a law that shall determine the requirements and forms of their organization.

Any person may file an amparo action to find out and to learn the purpose of data about him which is on record in public registries or data banks, or in any private [registers or data banks] whose purpose is to provide information, and in case of falsity or discrimination, to demand the suppression, rectification, confidentiality, or updating of the same. The secrecy of journalistic information sources shall not be affected.

When the harmed, restricted, altered, or threatened right is that of physical liberty, or in case of illegal worsening in the manner or conditions of detention, or in case of the forced disappearance of persons, the writ of habeas corpus may be filed by the affected person or by anyone else on his behalf and the judge shall immediately resolve it, even while a state of siege is in effect.


Translation by Jonathan M. Miller & Fang-Lian Liao
©Jonathan M. Miller, reproduced with permission

Note:  Except where otherwise noted, this translation follows the text published in the Boletín Offical of August 23, 1994, including use of italics to indicate sections that were reformed by the Constitutional Convention of 1994 and the use of bold for emphasis.

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