Tuesday, July 16, 2024

ARGENTINA | 30-06-2024 17:54

Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo warns of move to shutter investigative unit

Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo accuses government of seeking to shutter body dedicated to identifying and locating missing grandchildren.

One of Argentina’s most iconic human rights groups has warned that President Javier Milei’s government intends to shutter a key body that helps identify and restore the identities of individuals who were kidnapped as children during the 1976-1983 military dictatorship.

The Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo released a statement Friday after the draft of a government decree announcing the decision was leaked. In it, the NGO warns that the Milei administration intends to scrap a special investigative unit that investigates potential children of the disappeared.

The “Unidad Especial de Investigación de la desaparición de niños como consecuencia del accionar del terrorismo de Estado,” established in 2004, is part of the National Commission for the Right to Identity (CONADI), which falls under the remit of the Justice Ministry. It is tasked with locating and identifying babies who were taken from their mothers and appropriated by the military junta – most of whom would be around 45 years of age today. 

“Our organisation has around 7,000 reports of possible children of disappeared people,” read the release.

“Without the existence of the UEI, tomorrow, we should go to Federal Court or the Special Prosecution Unit for Cases of Child Abduction during State Terrorism (UNFICANTE) with all 7,000 reports, something which is wholly inefficient and infeasible. There are many state bodies aiding the courts, in order to make them more efficient, such as the Anti-Corruption Office and the CONADEP National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons, agencies of the Executive Branch with investigatory powers, which do not replace it or exercise judicial powers, but aid it in its task,” it added.

Abuelas President Estela de Carlotto said in a radio interview last Friday that a “huge demonstration” may be needed to “tell the government it's wrong about this nonsense.

The UEI has helped facilitate searches for the nearly 300 grandchildren which the Abuleas have been searching for 47 years. It assists judges and prosecutors in cases of possible identity theft, to prevent any dismissals of cases in court.

“This potential decree intends to eliminate a key area of the State,” warned the Abuelas. “It is a shining example of the regressive measures being pushed from the government, which deserve special attention and urgent measures.”




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