June 13, 2019 / 8:07 PM / 11 days ago

Argentina rights organization identifies son of disappeared dissidents

Javier Matias Darroux Mijalchuk, son of Elena Mijalchuk and Juan Manuel Darroux, who disappeared during Argentina's former 1976-1983 dictatorship, holds an image of his father, next to the president of human rights organization Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo (Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo) Estela de Carlotto, and his uncle, Roberto Mijalchuk, during a news conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina June 13, 2019. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentine human rights group Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo divulged the identity on Thursday of the son of a couple disappeared during the nation’s brutal 1976 to 1983 military dictatorship.

With the discovery, the organization, which works to identify children of dissidents who were killed by Argentina’s government and reconnect them with their relatives, says it has now identified some 130 sons and daughters who were separated from their parents.

Human rights groups estimate that about 30,000 people were killed by Argentina’s military government, many of them tortured beforehand. Most were students, union leaders or dissidents who were murdered for their political beliefs.

In some cases, young children of the murdered were put up for adoption and were never told of their biological parents.

Javier Matías Darroux Mijalchuk, who was born in 1977, told reporters on Thursday that he knew he was adopted, but did not know who his parents were or the circumstances of his adoption, as he was only a few months old when his biological parents were taken by government forces.

While he said he felt comfortable with his adopted family, he began to suspect as an adult that he may have been the child of disappeared dissidents. That led him to seek out The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo, whose members confirmed his suspicion.

“Recovering my identity is for me a tribute to my parents,” Darroux Mijalchuk said at a press conference.

He thanked his biological uncle, Roberto Mijalchuk, who he said had searched for him for 40 years. He said he will now seek to learn the fate of his parents, who were disappeared in 1977, and to find the biological sister he suspects he may have.

It is widely believed that there are still hundreds of adopted children of dissidents who still have not been identified. Efforts by The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo to identify the children of the disappeared have been helped in recent years by advances in DNA technology.

Reporting by Miguel Lo Bianco; writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Susan Thomas

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