Estela De Carlotto receives honorary degree in Italy for human rights work

The Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo president stated that they will continue searching ‘until the last grandchild is found’

Estela de Carlotto receives honorary doctorate at the university of Rome

Estela de Carlotto was distinguished on Wednesday with an honorary degree by the Universidad de Roma Tre for her work on human rights. 

The Abuelas de Plaza de Mayo president received the award (known as a doctorate honoris causa) in Italy as a recognition of her efforts to advance the right to identity in Argentina as well as for the Abuelas’ cultural and artistic projects aimed at assisting in the search for their grandchildren kidnapped by the military.

In her acceptance speech, Carlotto warned that Argentina’s current government is  endangering policies of memory, truth, and justice through hate speech. 

“They are trying to delegitimize our struggle and every Argentine’s fight for democracy and memory,” she said, insisting that the only path is a loving and persevering collective fight. She added that the Abuelas will continue defending democracy and working to find the last grandson. 

During her presentation, Carlotto pointed out the importance of culture as a key way of connecting with young people who may have doubts regarding their identity through projects like the Music for Identity festival or the Dance for Identity organization.

“At the same time, we created awareness about the right to identity among the population,” she said. 

Estela also reminisced about her own experience in searching for her grandson, whose identity was reinstated in 2014. She spoke about working on legislation on children’s rights, her efforts in trying to create Argentina’s Genetic Data National Bank — a pioneer organization that has allowed genetic matching between grandparents and grandchildren — and finding 137 grandchildren.

She emphasized that while the organization is still looking for 300 grandchildren, they are also focused on finding their great-grandchildren, who were also kidnapped by the military. She highlighted, once again, that they are not heroines, just simple mothers, grandmothers, and women.

Carlotto concluded the speech by stating that the organization will always be involved in the struggle for justice. “Wherever a right is violated, we will be there, for our children, for our grandchildren, and for our people.”

Estela de Carlotto joins prestigious Italian biologist Elena Conti, Governor of the Bank of Italy Fabio Panetta, and former Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales Sir Thomas Bingham as recipients of the University Tre honorary degree. Carlotto is now expected to be received by Pope Francis in a special audience on Thursday. 


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