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Madres de la Plaza de Mayo to speak March 5 (Released: 2/21/96)

by Sherry Fisher, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- Two leaders from the Madres de la Plaza de Mayo will share their personal stories and struggle for justice at the University of Connecticut March 5 in celebration of Women's History Month.

Hebe Pastor de Bonafini and Evel Aztarbe Petrini will share their experiences at 4 p.m. at the Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center.

The event is part of the University of Connecticut s observance of Fifty Years After Nuremberg: Human Rights and the Rule of Law. The one-year observance began with the dedication of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center on Oct. 15.

The program is sponsored by the Puerto Rican/Latin American Cultural Center, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the Women s Center, Women's Studies and the Dodd Planning Committee.

The month of March marks the 20th anniversary of the Madres presence in the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where mothers and grandmothers have gathered each week to protest the disappearance of their children in Argentina between 1 976 and 1983. During that time, thousands of people, mostly young students, were detained by agents of the state and were eventually tortured and murdered. The victims, sometimes while still alive, were thrown into the sea or buried in hidden graves.

For the last 20 years, the Madres circle the plaza, holding photographs of the children they lost. They also demand that the military men who carried out the genocide be brought to justice. Although the Madres efforts have brought national exposure to the human rights violations, only minimal punishment has been given to those responsible for the killings.

The Madres were nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980 and received the People's Peace Prize by the Norwegian government. They have received numerous awards for their activities on behalf of human rights.