The Human Rights Actions Network



Derechos Human Rights

March 10, 1998

Derechos Human Rights strongly condemns the attack and
robbery of the office of the Association of Families of
the Disappeared and Detained for Political Reasons
(Familiares), which took place on March 9.  Derechos
demands that the Argentinean authorities take all
necessary measures to guarantee the safety of the
members of Familiares, their offices and the
documentation with which they work.

According to Familiares, in the early hours of March 9,
unidentified people smashed through two doors
and ransacked the office.  The attackers stole
the organization's only two computers, as well as their
FAX machine and documentation regarding
the disappeared and their torturers and killers.

According to Graciela Lois, one of the directors of
Familiares, the loss of documentation is the most
worrisome for the organization: "Each testimony that is
missing is for me as if they disappeared again one of
the disappeared.  The archive is very large and it took
us many years to put it together."

Familiares was founded in 1976, at the beginning of the
"Dirty War," by relatives of the first disappeared and
political prisoners.  It has collected testimonies of 
families of the disappeared and witnesses and has 
publicized information about human rights violations 
in Argentina nationally and internationally.

The office of Familiares has been broken into eight times
in the last few years.  The most recent break-in was in August
1997, when hard disks and extensive documentation were 
stolen.  The office of Familiares is located in front 
of the National Congress building, one of the most 
guarded areas of Buenos Aires.  On the Wednesday 
before the robbery, members of Familiares had noticed 
signs of an attempted forced entry and had reported it 
to the police.  Although the break-in took place early 
the morning of the 9th, the police did not respond until 
late afternoon.

The attack on the offices of Familiares comes in a
context of renewed pressure against the members of the
Argentinean security forces guilty of human rights
violations during the "Dirty War."  Familiares has been
actively collaborating with the judicial authorities in
Spain and Italy that are investigating the disappearances
of Spanish and Italian citizens in Argentina.  Similar
criminal procedures, concerning German citizens
disappeared in Argentina, are about to start in Germany.
 Familiares has also been at the forefront of the
struggle against the impunity enjoyed by human 
rights abusers in Argentina.  Later this month, the 
Chamber of Deputies will consider a bill to repeal 
the amnesty laws passed in Argentina, which 
enabled the great majority of human rights 
violators to escape any punishment.

Derechos expresses its support to Familiares, and calls
upon the Argentinean Government to guarantee the safety of
Familiares as well as the other human rights
organizations, to investigate the robbery, and to bring
those responsible to justice.



We ask for your help in two manners: 1)ask the
Argentinean national authorities to guarantee the safety
of Familiares and 2) provide financial help to

1) Please send letters, faxes or e-mail messages to the
following addresses expressing concern for the latest
attack on the office of Familiares, seeking assurances
that the government will do all in its power to protect
Familiares and other human rights organizations
against such attacks, and urging the government to
investigate the attack and bring those responsible to


Mr. President
Carlos Saul Menem
Balcarce 24
(1064) Buenos Aires - Argentina
Tel-fax: 344-3754


Mr. Minister of the Interior
Carlos Corach
Balcarce 50
(1064) Buenos Aires - Argentina
Tel-fax: 331-1156

Mr. Foreign Minister
Guido Di Tella
Reconquista 1088- Piso 14
Buenos Aires -Argentina-
Tel-fax: 310-8159 (press office)

Copies to:

Derechos Human Rights

2) Help with donations of material and money.

Familiares is in need of two computers to make up for
those stolen during the robbery.  In addition, it needs
funds to fix the doors that were damaged during the
break-in.  The organization is all-volunteer-based and
they have very limited resources.  If you have a 486 or
better computer that you can part with, it wold be of
great use to Familiares.  In addition, all donations of
money would be greatly appreciated.

To help Familiares, please contact us at the following
In Argentina, contact Familiares at the phone/fax
953-5646 or by e-mail

In the US and Europe, please contact Derechos Human
Rights by e-mail at or by phone (US)

The Human Rights Actions Network

Human Rights in Argentina

Derechos | Index | Contact Us | Search

The Human Rights Action Network, a part of Derechos Human Rights, distributes appeals on behalf of victims of human rights violations. You are invited to join the network. Please check the date of the present action and do not write if it's over a month old.