The United Nations Commission for Refugees has expressed deep concern for the safety of political refugees under its protection in Argentina.
GV Buenos Aires street scene
SV man reading newspaper headling
CU Refugee woman and her child
SV & CU Man with broken ribs lying on bed (2 shots)
SV Refugee family sitting on bed
SV Man tailing to young boy
SV Boy warming hands over small oil stove
SV Children being dressed (2 shots)
SV Woman feeding son from pot
The day before the kidnapping the Argentine Government had expelled 15 foreigners, all of them believed to be Latin Americans, because they were said to be "national security risks". But a government statement said that no political refugees would be returned to their countries of origin. The Government has also said that the foreign exiles and refugees in Argentina are in no specific danger. There are believed to be about twenty thousand such people in the country, most be them from Chile.
On Wednesday (9 June), another band of armed men claiming to be police, had raided the Catholic Commission for Immigrants in Buenos Aires, and removed documents and files on foreigners in Argentina.
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: The United Nations Commission for Refugees has expressed deep concern for the safety of political refugees under its protection in Argentina. This follows the release of twenty-four South American political refugees on Saturday (12 June) who had been held captive for a day by a gang of armed men. The refugees included women and children.
SYNOPSIS: The refugees had been kidnapped early on Friday morning, when the armed men raided several small hotels in Buenos Aires where they were being housed. After being released, the refugees complained of having been ill treated, and many of them had to be given medical treatment. Relatives of the refugees said they were held blindfolded in cars overnight.
They had been threatened with death and told to leave the country within forty-eight hours. The relatives also told newsmen that the kidnappers were all heavily armed and dressed in civilian clothes. They had driven up to the hotels in unmarked cars with no licence plates, and burst in shouting "police".
They had forced several doors as they went through every room in the hotels, forcing occupants out. One Chilean refugee, who had showed five passports for himself and his family, who hoped to migrate to Holland, had them taken away.
The High Commission issued a communique on Saturday saying that concern over the incident had been expressed to the Argentine authorities. It said the operation had been carried out with extreme violence, and all the refugees had been insulted and threatened - especially the Chileans. The communique confirmed that the raid had not been carried out by Argentine security forces.