United Nations, New York Headquarters, 28 March 2014
On Friday, March 28, 2014 the Permanent Mission of Argentina hosted a panel discussion on the right to truth. Operation Condor, as pointed out by panelists and H.E. Sacha Sergio Llorenti Soliz, was a US backed campaign of political repression in many countries in South America, notably Argentina. Forced disappearances were a common tactic used by these dictatorships; pregnant women were forced into concentration camps and their babies were sent to live with people with ties to the military dictatorship. The panel included a number of people who, with the assistance of the organization Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, were able to discover their true identities.
H.E. María Perceval explained that the Argentinian government was responsible for the disappearances of approximately 500 children between 1975 and 1983. H.E. Ivan Šimonović extolled the efforts of Las Abuela de Plaza de Mayo, which began as few grandmothers going door-to-door with pictures of disappeared loved ones and asking about their whereabouts. Today, Las Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo is largely responsible for the recovery of 110 disappeared grandchildren and the conviction of 71 members of the former junta for crimes against humanity. Mr. Reed Brody explained that such convictions remain possible because of the efforts of lawyers who have established that disappearances are a continuing crime until the whereabouts of persons are discovered, which eliminates concern about statues of limitations.
Finally, four of the recovered victims related their stories. Mr. Leonard Fossati explained that in 2005 he learned his true identity – he had been born in a clandestine detention center and only spent 2 days with his mother before being taken from her. Mr. Fossati explained the importance of advances in DNA technology for assisting in the recovery of victims, and urged the international community to continue its search for the 400 children still missing.
Full Meeting Title: Panel discussion on “The right to the truth for memory, identity and justice: The Argentine experience – The grandchildren of Plaza de Mayo” (on the occasion of the International Day for the Rights to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims (organized by the Permanent Mission of Argentina))
Key Speakers: H.E. Ms. María Cristina Perceval, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Argentina to the UN; H.E. Mr. Ivan Šimonović, Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights; Mr. Reed Brody, Counsel and Spokesperson, Human Rights Watch; Mr. José Luis Fernández Valoni, Counselor, Permanent Mission of Argentina to the UN; H.E. Mr. Sacha Sergio Llorenti Soliz, Permanent Representative of Bolivia to the UN
Written By WIT Representative: Katherine King