History of Grandmothers Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo

Children Who Disappeared or Who Were Born in Captivity


The drama of children who disappeared in our country, the Argentine Republic, is one of the consequences of the National Reorganization Process enforced by the military dictatorship, which ruled the country between 1976 and 1983.

These children are the children of our children, who have also disappeared. Many babies were kidnapped with their parents, some after their parents were killed, and others were born in clandestine detention centers where their mothers were taken after having been sequestered at different states of their pregnancies.

We, the babies’ grandmothers, tried desperately to locate them and, during these searches, decided to unite. Thus, in 1977, the non-governmental organization called Abuelas (Grandmothers) de Plaza de Mayo was established, dedicated specifically to fighting for the return of our grandchildren. We also relentlessly investigated our children’s and grandchildren’s disappearances, in hopes of finding them.


As mothers our search is two-folded because we are demanding the restitution of our grandchildren while simultaneously searching for these children’s parents, our sons and daughters.

From the moment that our children (often with our grandchildren in their wombs) disappeared, we visited every court, office, orphanage, day care center, and so on, to locate them. We appeared before the courts, the successive military governments, the Supreme Court, and the ecclesiastical hierarchies, never obtaining a positive result. We finally directed our claim to international organizations such as the United Nations and the Organization of American States, again to no avail.

In 1977 we began our struggle with the claim for 13 children’s restitutions. As of August 2004, over 400 children have been recorded as missing. However, we know that there are approximately 500 kidnapped children. In many cases, their relatives did not declare such kidnappings, either due to ignorance of the ability to do so or because they did not know that the mothers were pregnant at the time of their disappearance.

The disappeared children were deprived of their identity, their religion, and their right to live with their family, in order words, all of the rights that are nationally and internationally recognized as their universal human rights.

…There is a large number of disappeared children whose identities were completely annulled. In those cases, we use modern science to prove that they are members of a particular family. For this purpose, we rely on support from the scientific community in the field of genetics, hematology, morphology, and others.

Through our participation and effort in the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, we were able to push for the inclusion of articles 7, 8 and 11, which refer to the right to an identity and are known as the “Argentine clauses.” This International Convention was later incorporated into the Argentine Constitution, via law number 23,849.

In 1992, as a direct result of a petition we organized, the National Executive Power of our government created CONADI, the National Committee for the Right to Identity. The main objective of this organization is to assist young adults who doubt their identities by investigating all existing documents and referring them for blood analysis. Blood analyses are conducted by the National Bank of Genetic Data, which has the power to perform such analyses without legal intervention.

Our demand is concrete: that the children who were kidnapped as a method of political repression be restored to their legitimate families.

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