Argentine human rights secretary dies

April 3, 2012 - 7:36 PM

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentine human rights secretary Eduardo Luis Duhalde, who was a prominent voice in denouncing abuses during the country's military dictatorship in the 1970s and 80s, has died. He was 72.

President Cristina Fernandez's office said that Duhalde died on Tuesday in Buenos Aires. He had undergone surgery in February for an aortic aneurysm, and in recent days had suffered complications.

Duhalde had been the country's human rights secretary since 2003, when he was appointed by Fernandez's husband, the late President Nestor Kirchner.

At the start of the military dictatorship that lasted from 1976 to 1983, Argentina's authorities ordered Duhalde's capture and he went into exile in Spain. While in Spain, he was outspoken in raising criticisms of repression under the dictatorship in Argentina.

Duhalde's writings included 24 books, and dealt with human rights issues as well as history.

After the restoration of democracy in 1983, Duhalde worked as a professor of history, law and politics at universities in Argentina and elsewhere. He was a human rights consultant to the United Nations and also a criminal court judge in Buenos Aires.

Estela de Carlotto, leader of the activist group Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, said she met Duhalde during a visit to Spain in 1980 and that he had formed a committee to receive complaints of rights abuses.

"He always helped us," she told Argentina's state-run Telam news agency. She said Duhalde's principles and achievements made him an "impeccable person."