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Legal Framework: Constitutional Rights and Guarantees

The Constitution of the Republic of Argentina sets forth several fundamental rights. According to its own text, it is the supreme law of the Nation, therefore, it must prevail in case of any conflict with other national or local rules and regulations.

By virtue of the 1994 constitutional reform, there are eleven treaties on human rights ranking pari passu the Constitution and they must be understood to supplement the rights and guarantees set forth in such Constitution. Treaties include the following: the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the American Convention on Human Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its Optional Protocol.

In addition, the constitutional reform has stated that international treaties rank higher than the laws, and therefore, in case of conflict between a treaty and a national or local provision, the treaty shall prevail. This is specially relevant in relation to the more than sixty bilateral treaties for the protection of foreign investments ratified by Argentina.

The following rights, among others, are protected by the Argentine Constitution: the right to work and engage in a lawful trade; the right to use and dispose of property; the right to ownership (according to which nobody can be deprived of such right without a court decision based on the law); the legality principle (according to which nobody can be forced to do anything not ordered by the law, or be deprived of doing anything not prohibited in the law); the tax legality principle (according to which taxes must be established exclusively by the Congress); the equality principle and the right to defense.

The Constitution also establishes that foreigners enjoy within the Argentine territory all the rights awarded to citizens; they may engage in, perform and execute their industry, trade and profession; they may own real property, buy and dispose of such property; and they are not obliged to pay mandatory extraordinary assessments.

Like in all countries worldwide, constitutional provisions must be respected and followed by all rules and regulations ranking below the Constitution (laws, decrees, other acts by the government or by private parties). Nevertheless, in the events that such provisions may be deemed impaired, the inhabitants are assured the access to justice in order to prevent or cure such impairment, since the judges are the guarantors of compliance with the Federal Constitution.

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