The United Nations human rights office today called on authorities around the world to redouble their efforts to find people missing due to enforced disappearances following reports that an Argentine grandmother discovered the identity of a grandson born during the military dictatorship in the country 37 years ago.
“Enforced disappearance is a human rights violation that repeats itself daily for the families of the disappeared,” said Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR). “We call on authorities in all parts of the world to redouble their efforts to discover the fate of such individuals and to ensure that the rights to justice and reparation are realized.”
The grandson of Estela de Carlotto, the president of the Association of Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, was reportedly identified through a DNA test.
Ms. Carlotto never met her grandson, who was born in 1978 during her daughter's clandestine detention by the military. The daughter was killed two months after the birth, with the body returned to Ms. Carlotto. The father was illegally detained by the Government and also killed.
The grandson is one of an estimated 500 children who disappeared during Argentina's 1976-1983 military dictatorship. Only 114 children have been located.
“The courage, perseverance and determination that the grandmothers of missing children in Argentina have shown in the last three decades continue to inspire human rights defenders around the world,” Ms. Shamdasani said in reference to the Association of Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo.
Ms. Carlotto founded that non-governmental organization in 1977. It aims to ensure that violations of children's rights such as those that occurred during the military dictatorship never happen again by demanding the prosecution of all those responsible for the tragedy.
In 2010, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) awarded the Grandmothers its Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize for their “tireless battle for human rights and peace by standing up to oppression, injustice and impunity.”
In today's press briefing, the OHCHR spokesperson stressed that the Grandmothers and other associations in the region have made great contribution to the human rights system, and have advanced the application of scientific methods towards resolution of human rights issues.