Social commentary

Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo

Daniel Ozarow Middlesex UniversityDr Daniel Ozarow, Senior Lecturer in Management, Leadership and Organisation and Deputy Head of the Latin American Studies Research Group, recently attended a meeting between human rights champion Nora Cortiñas and leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn. 

I was invited to Parliament recently alongside Nora Cortiñas, Co-Founder of Argentina’s Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo and globally-revered human rights leader, for a meeting with leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn and Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry. The invitation to Parliament was part of a UK speaking tour by Nora Cortiñas and Beverly Keene from the NGO Dialogo 2000, which I coordinated, and during which talks were given at the Trade Union Congress, University of Cambridge and University of London.

Nora Cortiñas meets Jeremy Corbyn
Nora Cortiñas (centre) with Jeremy Corbyn (left), Emily Thornberry (second from right) and Dr Daniel Ozarow (standing centre).

At the meeting on 1 November immediately after PMQs, the group discussed the history of The Mothers and the declining economic and human rights situation in Argentina in light of the suspected ‘forced disappearance’ and death of Santiago Maldonado. Mr Corbyn expressed his concern at this case, which has also drawn the attention of Amnesty International, the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and the United Nations Committee on Enforced Disappearances.

Cortiñas helped to form the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in 1977 when the civil-military dictatorship brutally tortured and murdered its own citizens. Many of the mothers of the 30,000 ‘disappeared’ began protesting in the Buenos Aires’ main square to demand the return of their children and have since been doing so weekly for over 40 years, as they still don’t know what happened to them.

Following the meeting, I hope to provide Mr Corbyn’s team with briefings on the economic, political and human rights situation in Argentina and to brief shadow cabinet ministers due to attend the WTO summit in Argentina in December.