ESMA

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The Navy Petty-Officers School of Mechanics (in Spanish, Escuela de Suboficiales de Mecánica de la Armada, previously Escuela Superior de Mecánica de la Armada), commonly referred to by its abbreviation ESMA, is a facility of the Argentine Navy that was employed as an illegal detention center during the dictatorial rule of the National Reorganization Process (1976–1983).

While the School was originally a legitimate military teaching institution, this article focuses on its notable use as a detention center.

The original ESMA was a complex located on Libertador Avenue, in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires, in the barrio of Nuñez. It was the seat of Task Unit 3.3.2 - Unidad de Tareas 3.3.2,http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/arg/doc/perren1.html While most English language sources refer to the unit as a 'task force', the attached Spanish webpage gives what appears to the proper name of the unit, named according to U.S. navy task force numbering systems. charged with multiple instances of forced disappearance, torture and illegal execution, as well as appropriation of children born to mothers imprisoned there, followed by identity forgery and illegal adoption. ESMA was the largest detention center of its kind during the Dirty War.

The premises of the Mechanics School in Buenos Aires were turned into a museum by law of the National Congress on 5 August 2004, which named it the Space for Memory and for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights.

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