The Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (AIPG) marks March 24, 2021 as Argentina’s National Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice (Día Nacional de la Memoria por la Verdad y la Justicia). The public observance represents an occasion for public reflection on the legacy of the campaign of state-sponsored terror under the country’s military dictatorship that lasted from 1976 until 1983. March 24, the date of the annual observance, was chosen as it coincides with the initiation of the 1976 coup d’état, which installed the military junta that would be responsible for approximately 30,000 enforced disappearances over the following 7 years. Importantly, the National Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice serves as an opportunity to commemorate the victims of this violence and their families.
On most years, a diverse group of organizations and individuals, led by the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Madres and Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo), assemble in Buenos Aires to demonstrate on this date. Many carry photographs of friends or family members who were disappeared as part of the dictatorship’s terror while others display signs with written messages. Notably, these demonstrations have called for investigations into the circumstances surrounding the numerous disappeared citizens whose fate remains unknown as well as for the continuing to strengthen the national government’s policies protecting human rights.
However, due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 Pandemic in March of 2020, public gatherings became impossible. In response, organizations like the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo created alternative commemorative awareness-raising campaigns for the National Day, such as the creation and public display of white handkerchiefs.
On this Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice, the Auschwitz Institute takes the opportunity to commemorate all whose lives were forever changed by the murders, tortures, and disappearances carried out during the cruel dictatorship in Argentina. Equally, AIPG commends the continued efforts of groups such as the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo in seeking justice, accountability, and reforms in response to the atrocities that took place during this period.