BUENOS AIRES – The Center for Memory and Human Rights, located in what used to be largest clandestine torture center in Buenos Aires during Argentina’s 1976-1983 dictatorship, was marked on Thursday with the UN Blue Shield.
The UN Blue Shield is a project created in 1954 with the aim of protecting cultural property in case of armed conflicts.
At the ceremony, Argentine Human Rights Secretary Claudio Avruj praised the “symbolic” act, which represents the “commitment of all to understand” that sites like the former Navy Mechanics School, or ESMA, are “emblematic” in the history of a country.
Avruj said the new recognition would help create a “permanent culture of repudiation” against acts that “must not happen again.”
Relatives of missing persons and members of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo human rights organization attended the ceremony.
The UN Blue Shield recognition stems from the work of national governments with the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, commonly known as “The Hague Convention.”
In the case of Argentina, it was managed by the administration of former President Cristina Fernandez, although the official recognition took place on Thursday.
The emblem seeks to distinguish the site and protect it from destruction in armed conflicts.
Since 2004, a museum, renamed the Space for Memory and the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights, operates at the site.