CARDINAL Francisco Primatesta, the Archbishop of Cordoba and president of Argentina's Bishops' Conference, said that the Church planned to deliver a note to the country's military junta protesting about violations of human rights.
The decision was reached ducted by the police far
at a commission meeting of allegedly putting tip the Bishops' Conference propaganda slogans.
which discussed the nation's problems in the light of Christian equality.
This will be the third time the bishops have complained to the Argentine government about harsh action taken against Leftwing extremists and about the work of the State's armed abduction squads which last July murdered two priests and three seminarians.
Since then Bishop Desiderio Collin° of Lomas de Zamora has spoken out strongly against the increasing activity of the abduction squads. He said more and more cases of violent arrest were being referred to him.
He described the arrest of One of his social workers, and complained about the violence with which the abduction squads operated. The squads break into homes, vandalise property and spirit away their chosen victims without offering any explanation.
The bishops' concern about crumbling human rights in their country has been echoed by a report* published by Amnesty International on Wednesday.
It is made up of the findings of Lord Avebury, Fr Robert Drinan and Patricia Feeney, the members of an Amnesty mission to Argentina last November.
The most disturbing element of the report is its list of 489 people who have completely "vanished". Amnesty estimates that between 2,000 and 5,000 people have disappeared, and conclude from their evidence that the police and security forces are in many cases responsible. The report also details instances of torture and the harassment of refugees. It quotes at length the testimony of Fr Patrick Rice, the Irish worker priest who was ab Fr Rice denied the charge, but was subjeL.ed to electric shock torture before being deported. Amnesty regard his testimony as one of their most conclusive pieces of evidence for the complicity of the army and police in abductions and torture.
The report concludes by recommending the Argentinian government to invite the United Nations to send a mission to investigate human rights. It calls on the government to produce a list of all its prisoners, and urges that all perpetrators of politically motivated murders be brought to justice.
These recommendations were submitted to the Argentinian government in February. There has been no immediate reaction.
In an interview last week with L'Express, President Videla said: "There are no Argentinians detained for their political opinions."
*Report of an Amnesty International Mission to Argentina is available from Amnesty International Publications, 53 Theobald's Road, London, WC1 8SP, and costs Ll.
Argentine guerrillas' peace call refused
Efforts by Montonero guerrillas to end three years of near civil war in Argentina through Church mediation have been rejected by the military government of General Jorge Videla. The guerrillas wrote to the Argentine Bishops' Conference: "We do not want the violence of war. We have not provoked it, nor have we started it."
Four leaders of the Montoneros are reported to have asked the ' bishops to mediate in a cease-fire proposal which included demands to legalise political_parties, a call for a general election, and protection lor political prisoners under the Geneva Convention,