A state resolution, published on 11th January, dictated that National Congress would reduce the budget allocating funds to the National Council of Women (CNM) and the National Plan of Action for the Prevention, Assistance and Eradication of Violence against Women (PNA). The cuts reportedly total AR $67 million, which is contrary to what was voted for in Congress.
Unsurprisingly, during the budget debates that took place at the end of last year, many social organizations working to promote women’s rights and put an end to violence against women spoke out against what the Government for not allocating enough funding to back up their declared stance on attacking gender violence throughout the country.
The organizations argued that the proposed amount of monetary aid allocated to PNA, for example, would not actually be enough to execute the plan. The agenda states that “the first year of implementation requires a total of AR $47 million (not counting the funds that are necessary for the construction of shelters and protection centers, which is estimated to cost AR $600 million.)”
Consequently, Congress did actually vote on 3rd November to increase the budget for CNM by AR $20 million, from AR $96,500,250 to AR $116,500,250. In addition, AR $47 million was allocated specifically to the implementation of policies against gender violence.
This seemed promising for a while, but those extra AR $67 million do not figure in the official budget that has now been published.
Now, the organizations ELA, ACIJ, CAREF, FEIM, MEI and Siglo 21 have joined forces to appeal in court against the measure adopted by the Casa Rosada.
Speaking at a press conference on Wednesday, representatives from the organizations explained their actions: “We decided to appeal to the courts not only in order to reverse the illegal retraction of funds from the CNM and PNA, but also to establish monitoring mechanisms for budget decisions so that this situation won’t arise again.”
It appears that executive powers were used to reverse the changes sanctioned by Congress, although, according to Infobae, the president of the CNM has confirmed that “there was an error.” Even so, the organizations have emphasized the importance of having the agreed amount in writing, otherwise there is no record of it and they doubt “the budget will actually be implemented with the increase included”.
The appeal also stresses that it is “unacceptable” that “the Cabinet Chief can unilaterally decide to violate the decisions made by Congress when allocating budgetary resources,” particularly when it comes to areas such as policies against gender violence, given the seriousness of the problem and “the Government’s own decision that the budget was indispensable for the implementation of the National Plan of Action against gender violence.”