A Conflict of Interests: Privacy, Truth and Compulsory DNA Testing for Argentina's Children of the Disappeared

51 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2011

See all articles by Elizabeth Ludwin King

Elizabeth Ludwin King

University of Denver Sturm College of Law

Date Written: September 23, 2011

Abstract

From 1976 to 1983, Argentina was ruled by a military dictatorship that disappeared an estimated 30,000 suspected subversives, including parents of young children and pregnant women. Their children, either disappeared along with their parents or born in clandestine detention centers, were then taken from their parents and adopted, often by couples sympathetic with the government and who knew of the children’s origins.

This Article addresses Argentina’s newest effort to identify these now-adult children: compulsory DNA testing in cases where the raising parents are suspected of having knowingly adopted their children illegally. It argues that, although the mandatory testing permissibly infringes on the adult child’s right to privacy in favor of the biological grandparents’ right to truth, better options satisfy the interests of both groups. It offers a framework for countries in conflict or transition that, in the future, may face a similar dilemma - the apparent need to identify an innocent person’s biological origins amidst that individual’s reluctance or refusal to submit voluntarily to DNA testing.

Suggested Citation

Ludwin King, Elizabeth, A Conflict of Interests: Privacy, Truth and Compulsory DNA Testing for Argentina's Children of the Disappeared (September 23, 2011). Cornell International Law Journal, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1935448

Elizabeth Ludwin King (Contact Author)

University of Denver Sturm College of Law ( email )

2255 E. Evans Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
United States
919-428-7460 (Phone)

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