The Auschwitz Institute for Peace and Reconciliation (AIPR) commemorates the date of March 24 as Argentina’s National Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice (Día Nacional de la Memoria por la Verdad y la Justicia). The annual public holiday serves as an opportunity to reflect on the consequences of the state-sponsored terror that occurred under the military dictatorship from 1976 until 1983, and to commemorate the victims of this violence, and their families.
The National Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice was established through Law 25.633 by the Argentinian Congress on August 2, 2002. The date, March 24, coincides with the initiation of the 1976 coup d’état, which installed the military junta that would be responsible for approximately 30,000 forced disappearances over the following 7 years.
To mark the occasion, a diverse group of organizations and individuals, led by the Madres and Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo (Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo), gather in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires to demonstrate. As part of the annual commemoration, many display photographs of friends or family members who were disappeared as part of the dictatorship’s terror. The demonstration also calls for continued investigations into the circumstances surrounding those whose fate remains unknown as well as the further strengthening of government policies protecting human rights.
Today, the Auschwitz Institute commemorates the tragedy experienced by the disappeared, their families, and the whole of society as a result of military dictatorship’s reign of terror in Argentina. AIPR commends the continued efforts of groups such as the Madres and Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo in seeking justice and accountability for the atrocities that took place. The Auschwitz Institute also takes the opportunity afforded by this Day of Remembrance as an opportunity to commemorate and honor the memory of all whose lives were forever changed by the murders, tortures, and disappearances carried out during the cruel dictatorship.
Additionally, the Auschwitz Institute would like to highlight the necessity of reconfirming the political will demonstrated by the countries that make up Latin America towards strengthening human rights in the region by advancing measures for truth, justice and memory. AIPR also encourages continued and active participation in forums such as the Latin American Network for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities, as well as the coordinated efforts of its member countries that promote the defense of human rights and the protection of vulnerable populations.