Righting Child Custody Wrongs: the Children of the "Disappeared" in Argentina

75 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2007

See all articles by Laura E. Oren

Laura E. Oren

University of Houston Law Center

Abstract

Between 1976 and 1983, the Argentine military dictatorship "disappeared" as many as 30,000 of their own people whom they perceived as subversive. At the same time, it is estimated that more than 450 young children of these disappeared were kidnapped by the regime and given or sold to childless military or police families, or otherwise wrongfully adopted by families whose knowledge of their origins ranged from innocence to willful ignorance, to guilt. An organization called Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo (Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo) organized to identify, locate, and demand the restoration of these children to their biological relatives. More than 20 years later, most of the children have never been located. But the clash of claims over the fate of these children in Argentine courts and politics has a lot to say to us about the difficulties inherent in righting child custody wrongs. In Argentina there were both legal and extra-legal resolutions of these "child custody wrongs." Examination of particular cases that had contrasting outcomes illuminates the meaning of "the best interest of the child" within a full political context, with reference to substantive and procedural Argentine and international law, and by comparison to United States constitutional doctrine.

Keywords: Argentina, Children of the Disappeared, Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo, Adoption, Child Custody, Kidnapping

Suggested Citation

Oren, Laura E., Righting Child Custody Wrongs: the Children of the "Disappeared" in Argentina. Harvard Human Rights Journal, Vol. 14, p. 123, 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=969170

Laura E. Oren (Contact Author)

University of Houston Law Center ( email )

4604 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204-6060
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
214
rank
139,972
Abstract Views
1,052
PlumX Metrics
!

Under construction: SSRN citations will be offline until July when we will launch a brand new and improved citations service, check here for more details.

For more information