According to Argentina it is quite possibly property of the state – which they can extract and examine as they see fit whenever they like.
.. comforting thought, eh?
Argentine adoptees defend right to not know
Published On Fri Jun 04 2010
The Associated Press
BUENOS AIRES—The adopted children of Argentina’s leading
newspaper publisher are nearing the end of an epic legal battle over
their DNA and preparing themselves for the possibility of a match with
families of victims of the dictatorship.
Marcela and Felipe Noble Herrera on Thursday accused Argentine
human rights groups and authorities of violating their privacy by
forcing them to give DNA samples in a politically charged case that
could put their elderly adoptive mother behind bars.
The Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo allege that Clarin
owner Ernestina Herrera de Noble illegally adopted them 34 years ago
with help from officials of the military junta. Hundreds of political
dissidents were kidnapped and killed after giving birth in clandestine
torture centres during the 1976-1983 dictatorship, and human rights
groups believe the Noble Herreras’ birth mothers were among them.
Barring a last-minute Supreme Court ruling, the National Genetics
Bank’s scientists will begin extracting DNA on Monday from underwear and
other clothing they surrendered last week under a court order,
following what they described as a dangerous car chase from the judge’s
office to their mother’s mansion.
The DNA will then be compared to results from hundreds of samples
given by families of the disappeared, in a process they fear gives them
“There is not a single concrete fact showing that we were taken”
from the junta’s imprisoned enemies, said Marcela, who with her brother
spoke exclusively to the Associated Press in their lawyer’s office.
But if the DNA shows a match to families of the disappeared, their
very existence would serve as evidence — “object proof” as they put it —
of a crime that could land their mother in prison, if lawyers can then
show she knowingly accepted stolen babies.
A match also would mean the adoptees have other families to
consider — whether they want to have anything to do with them or not.
“If it is really true . . . well, it’s up to us to assimilate it,
it’s up to us to prepare ourselves and it’s up to us to see what we want
to do,” she said. “Only we will know how we’ll feel.”
Felipe was more dismissive: “Whatever the result, for me it’s just
one more sheet of paper, one more fact in my desk.”
Ernestina Herrera de Noble, already a widow when the military took
over Argentina, adopted both children using paperwork that rights groups
have challenged in court as falsified.
But they say they have no need to know more about their birth
families, not after 34 years developing their own identities.
“Our identity is ours. It’s a private thing, and I don’t think it’s
up to the state or the Grandmothers to come and tell us what is ours,”
Marcela said, referring to the prominent human rights group that works
to identify infants stolen during the dictatorship.
“Despite this, they have tried for nine years to forcefully impose
our genetic history on us,” she added. “They don’t listen to us, they
don’t respect us, they don’t respect our timing.”
The case began in 2001 with two families of dictatorship victims
asking the courts to obtain the adoptees’ DNA. The Grandmothers later
became plaintiffs as well, and pressed to have the DNA examined at the
Genetics Bank. The group also is closely allied with President Cristina
Fernandez, whose supporters in congress passed a law last year requiring
all DNA tests in missing persons cases to be handled by the Genetics
Bank, rather than the judicial system’s labs.
The Grandmothers have succeeded in identifying 101 children of the
disappeared over the years. But some adopted children would rather not
know, particularly if the information implicates their adoptive parents
in crimes that happened a generation ago.
“For them, we would be just No. 102, No. 103. Just a number. …
And that’s not how it is — a person is not just a number,” Marcela said.
The Noble Herreras again refused last week to surrender blood
samples for the Genetics Bank’s database, prompting a judge to send
armed agents to videotape them surrendering their clothing to prove the
chain of custody.
“Their work is noble, it’s praiseworthy. But the end doesn’t
justify the means,” Marcela said, adding that Friday’s chase scene
convinced her that the rights group won’t rest until her mother is in
“When human rights groups say they have to protect the victims, to
take care of these children we love, is this love? It’s a form of love
that we don’t understand. This is why we feel we aren’t listened to.”
The Noble Herreras’ lawyers are trying to get judge Sandra Arroyo
Salgado removed and all of her decisions invalidated for bias. In
response, the Grandmothers asked the Interamerican Human Rights
Commission to declare Argentina in violation of their “right to the
truth” if DNA tests don’t commence on Monday.