Between 1970 and 1980, a vast human rights movement was founded and grew within Argentina. Because of its unique features, the movement achieved broad regional and international influence that continues to impact the political and institutional realities of the country in the present.
The emergence of the human rights movement in Argentina can be attributed to two main factors: state terrorism installed by the armed forces on March 24, 1976; and the world-wide ascendancy of a universal concept of human rights in the wake of the Second World War.
The foundation of CELS in 1979, in the midst of the last military dictatorship, is rooted in this context. Its creation responded to the urgent need to take quick and decisive action to stop gross and systematic human rights violations, document state terrorism, and provide legal aid and assistance to victims’ families, especially in the case of the detained-disappeared.