The Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities marks March 24, 2023, as Argentina’s National Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice. This annual public observance serves as a tribute to the victims of murders, tortures, and disappearances that took place during the last military dictatorship in Argentina and their families.
The date of March 24 marks the beginning of the 1976 coup d’état, which led to the military junta taking power and the subsequent forced disappearance of around 30,000 people over the next seven years. Additionally, 2023 marks the 40th anniversary of uninterrupted democracy in Argentina, a significant milestone that emphasizes the importance of collective memory, education, and a commitment to never again let such atrocities occur.
Throughout Buenos Aires and the country, various events such as performances, art exhibitions, poetry readings, prayer services, peaceful rallies and marches led by Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, and other cultural events are dedicated to remembering the events of March 24 and their aftermath. This year’s observance also coincides with the World Forum on Human Rights in Buenos Aires, which features multiple events focused on promoting human rights in the city, with an emphasis on memorialization.
Over the past decade, Argentina has taken significant steps towards transitional justice by establishing truth commissions, memorial sites on former extermination camps, and gathering evidence to hold those responsible accountable. These demonstrations are part of continued multi-stakeholder calls for investigations into the circumstances surrounding the numerous disappeared citizens whose fate remains unknown and to strengthen the national government’s policies protecting human rights. Through these actions, the government has made progress towards repaying a debt owed to the victims, their families, and society by bringing a sense of fairness and dignity to their memory.
The observance of this day encourages the collective reflection and critical analysis of Argentina’s recent history, which strengthens the foundation of democracy and imparts valuable lessons to new generations. Education about the legacy and consequences of the military dictatorship, and about the defense of human rights, democratic culture, and constitutional guarantees, provides students with a comprehensive understanding of their country’s past and promotes a commitment to preventing history from repeating.
The Auschwitz Institute commends the efforts of the Mothers and Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, other victims’ groups, human rights organizations, and grassroots organizers in their pursuit of justice, accountability, and reforms in response to the atrocities that occurred during the years of military rule. In addition to its work with Argentina, the Auschwitz Institute promotes continued and active support for, and participation in, the Latin American Network for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities, which facilitates cooperation among member states to protect human rights and vulnerable populations.