Argentina

Country Profile

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Population: 44,938,712
  • Main Language: Spanish
  • Official Religion: None
  • Main Religion: Predominantly Christian and majority Catholic Christians
  • Other Religions: Buddhists, ethnoreligionist, Hindus, Judaism, Muslims, among others
  • President: Alberto Ángel Fernández (2019 – 2023)

Legal Framework

Argentina is a federal, democratic republic operating with a three-branch government. The president of Argentina is both the head of state and the head of the government who exercises executive power. Legislative power is vested in both the executive branch and the National Congress, while the judiciary is independent of both the executive and the legislature branches.

Currently, the State guarantees religious freedom in a broad range of regulatory provisions. Among them are:

Figure 1: Religious Freedom – Main legal framework

Freedom of religion

Church and State Religious

Education

Rights and duties of parents Registration

Constitution of the Argentine Nation

     
   

National education law

 
       

Law 21745

Own elaboration

General Description of the State of Religious Freedom

 

 

In recent years the number of murders and robberies in Argentina has decreased. However, this only applies to Argentina in general and varies per region. In general, churches often suffer from thefts and attacks by small criminal groups. In some cases, these robberies turn out to be violent, leading to the death of parish priests, as has happened to Father Oscar Juárez. On July 15, 2020, he was found dead inside the church of San Martín de Porres, in the capital of the province of Tucumán. According to local sources, he has fallen victim to a violent robbery.

Anti-Semitic violence is rare in Argentina but does occur occasionally. Ariel Gelblung, the Latin America representative for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, stated the following: ‘Argentina isn’t an anti-Semitic country but has anti-Semitic episodes. Now these episodes are more violent and more frequent.’ One of the latest episodes included violence incidents like the beating of Grand Rabbi Gabriel Davidovich, who was violently robbed at home. According to news sources the robbers said that they knew he was the Amia Rabbi. The Grand Rabbi suffered several fractured ribs and a punctured lung. The attack occured just a day after seven Jewish graves were defaced with Nazi symbols in San Luis in western Argentina.

. Among the main restrictions, we can refer to:

A. Hostility to religious expressions by state and non-state actors

 

 

Religious Freedom and the COVID-19 pandemic

Violent Incidents Database

The Violent Incident Database (VID) is a service by the Observatory of Religious Freedom in Latin America, designed to collect, record, and analyze violent incidents related to violations of religious freedom.

In many cases, the limitations on religious freedom previously explained have led to violent incidents in the country, both against religious leaders or religious groups, and even against places of worship, among others.

The following cases reported on the platform, illustrate the state of religious freedom in the country:

  • Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary vandalized: Prior to an anti-abortion march in Moreno, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary was vandalized. Protestors covered the cathedral in green paint as a protest against the church, which opposes abortion.
  • Father Jorge Vaudagna shot and killed: Father Jorge Vaudagna (58), the parish priest of Vicuña Mackenna, a town in the department of Río Cuarto, province of Córdoba, Argentina, was shot in his parish during an attempt of robbery.
  • Mapuches forced their way into the Our Lady of Luján Parish: A group of people identified as part of the Mapuche group (an indigenous group in Chile and Argentina) entered the parish of Our Lady of Luján, in El Bolsón. Approximately 12 Mapuche members entered the church by force, beat the priest, and took another member of the congregation hostage for a short period of time. Religious images were also vandalized.

Figure 2: Violent incidents reported in Argentina (2018-2019)

Incidents 2018 2019 2020
Killings 0 0 3
(Attempts) to destroy, vandalize or desecrate places of worship or religious buildings 13 2 13
Closed places of worship or religious buildings 0 0 1
Arrests/detentions 0 0 0
Sentences 0 0 1
Abductions 0 0 0
Sexual Assaults/harassment 0 0 0
Forced Marriage 0 0 0
Other forms of attack (physical or mental abuse) 0 1 4
Attacked houses/property of faith adherents 0 0 0
Attacked shops, businesses or institutions of faith adherents 0 0 0
Forced to leave Home 0 0 0
Forced to leave Country 0 0 0

Information and/or data from previous years can be found on our Violent Incidents Database

Indicators

Index Variables Argentina
World Watch List, Open Doors International (2020) Private sphere n.d
Family sphere n.d
Community sphere n.d
National sphere n.d
Church life n.d
Violence n.d
Total score n.d
Global Uptick in Government Restrictions on Religion in 2016
Pew Research Center (2018)
Government Restrictions Index 2.6
Social Hostilities Index (SHI) 1.8
Government religious preference, Religious Characteristics of States Data Project
Baylor University Institute for Studies of Religion (2015)
Government Religious Preference composite score – preferred religion (PRFGRP) 2.5
Government Religious Preference composite score – non-preferred religion (NPRFGRP) 1.5
The Main Religion and State Dataset
Religion and State Project, Bar-Ilan University (2014)
Official Religion (SAX) No
Official Support (SBX) Preferred Religion: While the state does not officially endorse a religion, one religion serves unofficially as the state’s religion receiving unique recognition or benefits. Minority religions all receive similar treatment to each other.
Religious Discrimination Against Minority Religions (MXX) 9
Regulation of and Restrictions on the Majority Religion or All Religions (NXX) 0
Specific Types of Religious Support (LXX) 9
Societal Module
Religion and State Project, Bar-Ilan University (2014)
Discrimination, harassment, acts of prejudice and violence against minority religions: General (WSOCDISX2014) 15
Minority actions of Discrimination, harassment, acts of prejudice and violence – Against the majority religion (WMIN2MAJX2014) 0
Minority actions of Discrimination, harassment, acts of prejudice and violence – Against the other minority religions (WMIN2MINX2014) 0
Societal regulation of religion (WSOCREGX2014) 1
CIRI Human Rights Data Project (2011) Freedom of religion (NEW_RELFRE) 2
Religion and State-Minorities Dataset
Religion and State Project, Bar-Ilan University (2014)
Governmental Discrimination (MMXX2014)
Animists
n.d
Jehovahs Witnesses n.d
Jews 5
Muslims 4
Protestants 6
International Religious Freedom Data
The Association of Religion Date Archives (2008)
Government Regulation of Religion Index (GRI_08) 1.5
Government Favoritism of Religion Index (GFI_08) 8.1
Social Regulation of Religion Index (MSRI_08) 4.7
Religious Freedom Rating
Hudson Institute (2007)
Religious Freedom Scale 3

For more data about the indicators click here.

Public Policy Recommendations

Publications

 

Recent posts

The Observatory of Religious Freedom in Latin America is a program of the Foundation Platform for Social Transformation, a registered charity in Voorburg, The Netherlands under Chamber of Commerce #50264249.

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