This interview is part of Right to Protest, a partnership project with human rights organisations CELS and INCLO, with support from the ACLU, examining the power of protest and its fundamental role in democratic society.
Vera Jarach was born to a Jewish-Italian family in Milan, but her family fled to Argentina in 1939, when Vera was 10-years-old, to escape fascism. She is one of the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, a protest movement in Argentina that arose in response to the civic-military dictatorship of 1976–1983. Vera's daughter, Franca Jarach – her only child – was one of around 30,000 Argentines who were 'disappeared' by the dictatorship.
This interview was carried out in late May 2017 at the Espacio Memoria y Derechos Humanos ex Esma (ESMA) in Buenos Aires – the ex-military building where many of the 'disappeared' were taken to be tortured and later murdered. May 2017 was an important and eventful month for the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo and for social justice in Argentina. On 10 May there was a huge demonstration in Plaza de Mayo against the Supreme Court's decision to apply the so-called '2-for-1' law to Luis Muiña, who was convicted in 2013 of crimes against humanity during the dictatorship. The Court's decision would have meant a dramatic reduction in Muiña's prison term.