Press Release

IACHR Salutes Recovery of Identity of Son of Persons Detained and Disappeared in Argentina

August 15, 2012

Washington D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) salutes the recovery of the identity of Pablo Javier Gaona Miranda, 34 years old, son of Ricardo Gaona Paiva and María Rosa Miranda, who were kidnapped by the military dictatorship in Argentina and continue to be disappeared until this date.

According to the information made public by the organization Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo (Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo), on May 14, 1978, Ricardo Gaona Paiva, his wife María Rosa Miranda and their son, Pablo Javier Gaona Miranda, who at the time was one month old, disappeared after leaving the house of Ricardo Gaona’s parents. Nobody had any knowledge of their whereabouts until August 6, 2012, when the recovery of the identity of Pablo Javier Gaona Miranda was announced.

The Inter-American Commission highlights the fundamental importance of the work of Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo in the recovery of the identity of 106 persons, sons and daughters of persons detained during the military dictatorship (1976-1983), most of whom are still disappeared.

The Inter-American Court has said that the States must not only abstain of unduly interfering in the private or family relations of the children, but they must also adopt positive measures to ensure their full exercise and enjoyment. In this regard, the organs of the system have established that the abduction of a child from his or her family and cultural environment, his or her illegal retention, the change of the names and surnames, as well as the consequent growing in a different family and cultural and social settings, constitute a violation of his or her right to a private and family life and his or her right to an identity. This type of facts also activate a State obligation to guarantee these rights, which means the obligation to adopt all necessary measures to achieve the reunification with the biological family and the recovery of the identity.

In this sense, the IACHR values the institutional efforts that have contributed to the process of identity recovery of the children of persons detained and disappeared in Argentina. Among these, the legislative efforts that allowed the creation of a procedure for the obtention of DNA samples, the work of the National Commission for the Right to Identity (Comisión Nacional por el Derecho a la Identidad, CONADI) of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, and the actions taken by the Judiciary.

The Commission highlights the July 5, 2012, sentence of the Argentine Justice against the former dictators Jorge Videla and Reynaldo Bignone that condemned them to prison for their responsibility in a systematic plan to kidnap babies, which constituted a significant step forward in fighting impunity against the serious violations against human rights perpetrated during the military dictatorship, and, especially, the violations of human rights of children.

Finally, the Commission calls on other States of the region where similar practices of appropriation and/or kidnapping of children by State authorities took place, to adopt all necessary measures to adopt an effective institutional response that allow to guarantee the rights to family and to identity of the victims.

A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this matter. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in a personal capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.

No. 105/12