December 6, 2013
BILL CALLS FOR COMPULSORY DECISION ON DNA TESTINGSunday, August 18, 2013
Disappeared children: bill aims to delve deeper
Time is ticking for grandmothers who have been trying to find their grandchildren snatched during the last dictatorship. Acknowledging that he is taking part in a race against the clock, a son of disappeared parents is promoting a bill aimed at broadening the samples received by the National Genetic Database.
On Wednesday 7, Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo announced the restitution of grandson number 109 at their headquarters in Buenos Aires City. Human rights activists gathered there to celebrate the news and to welcome Pablo Athanasiu Laschan, now a 37-year-old man who was kidnapped in 1976 with his parents and appropriated by a family linked to the military regime.
That day, lawyer Juan Pablo Villeres arrived at the Grandmothers’ office and he hugged Estela Barnes de Carlotto when she finished with the press conference. Then, Villeres — son of Graciela Noemí Folini and Rubén Argentino Villeres, abducted in 1977 in Olavarría, Buenos Aires province— presented the head of Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo with a bill he has been analyzing with a group of professionals.
“We just want to provide some necessary tools to help to find the grandchildren appropriated during the dictatorship,” Villeres told the Herald. Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo estimate that there are around 400 men and women who do not know their real identity yet.
The bill that Villeres is promoting implies that people born between 1975 and 1980 will be called to attend to a public office, not defined yet, and will have to say if they want to provide a blood sample to be compared with the ones stored at the National Genetic Database, which gathers more than 200 samples of families who are trying to find the children stolen to their mothers while they were in captivity.
“The summons will be compulsory but to give the sample would be optional,” the lawyer explained. However, in the bill that is being analyzed by the Grandmothers’ legal team and by the Human Rights Secretary Martín Fresneda, some benefits for those allowing the test to be performed are considered.
“We also think that, when people are summoned, there will be necessary not only the presence of an official from the Database but also somebody to provide psychological assistance to that person, who might have doubts about her or his identity,” Villeres highlighted.
Villeres and the interdisciplinary group that prepared the draft bill are aware of the possible adverse reactions. On a smaller scale, some appropriated children refused to have tests performed in order to define if they were children of disappeared people. As they have already said, some can claim that their right to privacy can be damaged if the collective right to truth prevails.
“The project can be criticized but in order to clear up doubts and to improve the proposal, we are going to hold some forums throughout the country,” he added.
This year, Villeres lost two of his grandparents, who had been waiting for more than 35 years to receive information about their missing children.
“Time is ticking and we are losing the chance of putting an end to this nightmare. We are close of losing the chance of recomposing the relations that the genocidal perpetrators wanted to destroy. We are talking of biological urgencies,” he highlighted and added that the state authorities owe the disappeared people’s relatives a response.
“The state is obliged to make reparations to the victims and their relatives. The state is responsible of the genocidal plan implemented and carried out by its armed forces during the dictatorship,” Villeres said, convinced that his project can be a new tool for the human rights movement to continue its long struggle.