ESMA Museum and Site of Memory – Former Clandestine Center of Detention, Torture and Extermination

ESMA Museum and Site of Memory – Former Clandestine Center of Detention, Torture and Extermination
This property is located within the complex of the Former Navy School of Mechanics in Buenos Aires, in the former Officers’ Quarters. This was the Argentine Navy’s principal secret detention centre during the civil-military dictatorship of 1976-1983. As part of a national strategy to destroy armed and nonviolent opposition to the military regime, the Officers' Quarters building at ESMA (Escuela Superior de Mecánica de la Armada) was used for holding captive opponents who had been abducted in Buenos Aires and interrogating, torturing and eventually killing them.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Musée et lieu de Mémoire de l’ESMA - Ancien centre clandestin de détention, de torture et d’extermination
Ce bien est situé au sein du complexe de l'ancienne École de mécanique de la marine de Buenos Aires, dans l’ancien « Casino des Officiers ». Il fut le principal centre de détention secret de la marine argentine pendant la dictature civilo-militaire (1976-1983). Dans le cadre d'une stratégie nationale visant à détruire toute opposition au régime militaire, armée ou non violente, le bâtiment du « Casino des Officiers » de l'ESMA (Escuela Superior de Mecánica de la Armada) a été le lieu de détention des opposants enlevés à Buenos Aires, qui y ont été interrogés, torturés et finalement tués.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

متحف "إيسما" والموقع التذكاري – مركز سري سابق للاعتقال والتعذيب والإبادة
يوجد هذا العنصر داخل مجمع مدرسة الميكانيكا السابقة التابعة للبحرية الأرجنتينية في بوينس آيرس، في مقر الضباط السابق. وكان هذا الموقع مركز الاعتقال السري الرئيسي التابع للبحرية الأرجنتينية إبان الحكم الدكتاتوري المدني - العسكري في الفترة الممتدة بين عامَي 1976-1983. وكان مبنى مقر الضباط في مدرسة الميكانيكا البحرية جزءاً من استراتيجية وطنية لقطع الطرق التي تستخدمها المعارضة المسلحة والسلمية للنظام العسكري، إذ كان يُستخدم لاحتجاز المعارضين الذين يُختطفون في بوينس آيرس واستجوابهم وتعذيبهم وقتلهم في نهاية المطاف

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

海军机械学院博物馆和纪念地-曾经的秘密拘留、折磨与处决地
该遗址位于布宜诺斯艾利斯前海军机械学院建筑群内,是前军官宿舍。在1976-1983年军民独裁统治期间,这里是阿根廷海军的主要秘密拘留中心。作为摧毁军事政权反对者(武装与非暴力)的国家战略的一部分,阿根廷海军机械学院的军官宿舍楼被用来关押在布宜诺斯艾利斯遭绑架的反对者,实施审讯、折磨并最终将其杀害。

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Музей и Мемориальный комплекс ЭСМА, бывший подпольный центр содержания под стражей, пыток и истребления
Этот объект расположен на территории комплекса бывшей школы механиков военно-морского флота в Буэнос-Айресе, в бывших офицерских кварталах. В период военно-гражданской диктатуры 1976-1983 гг. это был главный секретный центр содержания под стражей ВМФ Аргентины. В рамках национальной стратегии по уничтожению вооруженной и ненасильственной оппозиции военному режиму здание офицерского корпуса ЭСМА (Высшая школа механики ВМФ) использовалось для содержания пленных оппозиционеров, похищенных в Буэнос-Айресе, их допросов, пыток и последующего убийства.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Museo y Sitio de la Memoria ESMA - Ex Centro Clandestino de Detención, Tortura y Exterminio
Este predio se encuentra dentro del complejo de la Ex Escuela de Mecánica de la Armada en Buenos Aires, en el antiguo Cuartel de Oficiales. Este fue el principal centro secreto de detención de la Armada Argentina durante la dictadura cívico-militar de 1976-1983. Como parte de una estrategia nacional para destruir la oposición armada y no violenta al régimen militar, el edificio del Cuartel de Oficiales de la ESMA (Escuela Superior de Mecánica de la Armada) se utilizó para mantener cautivos a opositores que habían sido secuestrados en Buenos Aires e interrogarlos, torturarlos y finalmente asesinarlos.

source: UNESCO/CPE
Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Entrance façade of the ESMA Museum and Site of Memory Former Clandestine Centre of Detention, Torture and Extermination © Albano García
Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis

ESMA Museum and Site of Memory - Former Clandestine Centre of Detention, Torture and Extermination is located on the grounds of what was once the Officers’ Quarters of the Navy School of Mechanics (ESMA), in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

In the Clandestine Centre installed at the ESMA Officers’ Quarters, officers and subordinates belonging to the Argentine Navy kidnapped, tortured, and murdered more than 5,000 people, carried forward a plan to steal babies born in captivity, exercised sexual and gender violence, subjected groups of detained-disappeared persons to forced labour of various kinds, and organised the spoliation of movable and immovable assets of the victims. The systematic and organised exercise of secretly carried out violence by the dictatorship took place as part of a transnational plan of cooperation among dictatorships in the American Southern Cone to fight political left- and Marxist-oriented armed and non-armed opposition, and a wide range of progressive political and social associations. Due to the transnational implications of these events, in a context of global geo-political tensions between opposing worldviews and socio-political values, the building and operational magnitude, its location in the heart of the city, the coexistence of naval officers and detained-disappeared persons and the variety and complexity of the crimes committed, ESMA Clandestine Centre transcended its political and geographical borders to turn into an international and emblematic symbol representing the characteristics of the enforced disappearance of persons, considered today as a crime against humanity by the United Nations.

Criterion (vi): The ESMA Museum and Site of Memory - Former Clandestine Centre of Detention, Torture and Extermination is closely and tangibly associated with, and highly representative of, the illegal repression of armed and non-armed opponents and dissenters carried out and coordinated by the dictatorships of Latin America in the 1970s-1980s on the grounds of the enforced disappearance of persons, in a climate of global geopolitical tensions between opposing worldviews about the world’s socio-political order.

Integrity

The property contains all the strata which clearly explain its historical-constructive evolution, necessary to understand its Outstanding Universal Value. The building has been protected as judicial evidence since 1998 owing to the crimes against humanity committed there during the operations of the Former Clandestine Centre of Detention, Torture and Extermination. From then on, any kind of modification was prohibited. The Argentine Navy vacated and handed down the building in 2004. Until 2014, only maintenance and deterioration arrest works were performed. From 2014 to 2015, the works to create and open the ESMA Museum and Site of Memory were carried out with scrupulous respect for the preservation of the state of the building, as it was at the time of its decommissioning, and its status as judicial evidence. At present, different marks and vestiges denoting the stay of the detained-disappeared at the place are preserved. The building today displays the inalterability conditions necessary to continue with studies which may allow access to new judicial evidence. Furthermore, it represents a documentary source for the historical reconstruction of the events which took place there.

Authenticity

The property’s structure, spatial configuration, coatings, and marks of the various constructive alterations and uses over time allow to understand its own history and evolution and convey in a credible manner the Outstanding Universal Value of the property. The validation of the building as judicial evidence in the trials for crimes against humanity committed there is based upon the recognition of the authenticity of the facilities and the veracity of the testimonies referring to such events and confirms the property’s tangible and close association with those events. The conservation and restoration protocols applied for the installation of ESMA Museum and Site of Memory were jointly endorsed by experts in such matters, by an Advisory Council made up of representatives of Human Rights organisations and by the judicial body. Nowadays, all the conservation and restoration measures of the building are based upon scientific studies carried forward in order to preserve it by virtue of its dual nature of judicial evidence and documentary source.

The tangible attributes of the property which reflect its Outstanding Universal Value are complemented and reinforced by the painstaking and early activated process to ascertain facts and seek justice in relation to the criminal events that took place during the dictatorships at the hands of the military led to the first Trial of the Military Juntas in 1985 by a civil court. This trial and the following mega-cases have produced overwhelming evidence of what happened at ESMA. The Officers’ Quarter was protected as judicial evidence for the trials. The process of seeking truth and justice is still ongoing and shall form the basis of a robust reconciliation process.

Protection and management requirements

Various legal and institutional protection measures cover the property and its buffer zone for the preservation of its Outstanding Universal Value. Legally speaking, the building has been protected since 1998 under an injunction to maintain the status quo in its capacity as judicial evidence. Additionally, the Court continuously issues specific provisions on the topics concerning the entire building preservation. At the heritage level, in 2008, the property was listed as a National Historic Monument and its buffer zone, made up of the premises destined for the Space for Memory and for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (former ESMA), as a National Historic Site. From the institutional point of view, the national decree for the creation of the ESMA Museum and Site of Memory - Former Clandestine Centre of Detention, Torture and Extermination sets its administrative role as a decentralised body of the National Secretariat for Human Rights, whose mission is to inform and convey the events which took place in the Clandestine Centre, its precedents and its consequences.

The ESMA Museum and Site of Memory is managed by an executive directorate and has an Advisory Council composed of the same members coming from the Directory of Human Rights organisations belonging to the Space for Memory and for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights. The Museum and Site of Memory is located within the boundaries of the premises destined for the Space for Memory and for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (former ESMA), which nowadays houses public institutions and civil society associations with a local, national and regional reach. The Space for Memory and for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (former ESMA) is administered by an Executive Body made up of representatives from the National Government, the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires and a Directory integrated by Human Rights organisations.

The long-term sustenance of the Outstanding Universal Value and of the mission of the ESMA Museum and Site of Memory to accompany Argentina to fulfil its aspiration that these events will not happen again need the continued commitment of all relevant institutions in presenting what happened during the dictatorship in all its complex precedents and consequences and guaranteeing that the property continues to be the inheritance of all Argentinians so as to become that of the world.