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Farmers denounce that Argentina's fire management law "presumes that rural owners are potential criminals"

The Argentine agrarian associations reject that the new regulations do not distinguish between the cause of the fire to prohibit the change of use of the land in terms ranging from 30 to 60 years.

12/14/2020

Maize crop field in Argentina.

The Argentine Sunflower Association - ASAGIR; the Argentine Wheat Association - Argentrigo; the Association of the Argentine Soy Chain - ACSoja; the Argentine Forestry Association - AFoA; the Argentine Maize and Sorghum Association - MAIZAR; the Argentine Cotton Chamber - CAA; the Argentine Chamber of Alfalfa - CAA; the Argentine Chamber of Peanuts - CAM; the Legume Chamber of the Argentine Republic - CLERA; the Argentine Chamber of Rice Manufacturers - CIAAR; The Argentine Citrus Federation - Federcitrus and the Argentine Olive Federation - FOA denounce that the reforms to Argentine law 26.815, on fire management, prohibit for periods of 30 to 60 years the change of use of land affected by fires, be they intentional or not.

In this way, the law does not make a distinction between natural, accidental or provoked fires and assumes, without having proven intent or guilt, that whoever has suffered a fire is the one who has caused it, violating the principle of presumption of innocence and condemning the owner of the property, who in addition to losing his working capital must face a conviction for an event for which his responsibility has not been proven.

It is the responsibility of the Criminal Justice to detect those responsible for the fires, and it is totally arbitrary to consider in advance that there is intentionality. Restricting or limiting the right to private property without a final judgment is absolutely unconstitutional.

The modification of the law in these terms violates the legal principle of innocence and entails not only the violation of the property right enshrined in the National Constitution, but also leads to a detrimental result for that producer who was attacked by third parties who with intent caused a fire on his property or was affected by a misfortune of nature, which must suffer, in addition to the damage, unconstitutional limitations on his rights.

We propose to work together with the State to design an efficient fire prevention, management and control plan. But we reject this new violation of property rights and we do not accept that those who work the land and have suffered an accident are considered as environmental criminals.


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