The U.N. Committee Against Forced Disappearances responded to a request by Argentine human rights groups demanding Mauricio Macri's government look for a comprehensive strategy for finding Santiago Maldonado who disappeared after a military police raid on a Mapuche community.
The committee urged the Argentine government to identify those responsible for Maldonado's disappearance, saying that it "requires the urgent action of the state to locate him," and requesting the intervention of the Center for Legal and Social Studies, an Argentine organization responsible for overseeing compliance with the International Convention for the Protection of Individuals Against enforced disappearances.
Maldonado was last seen during a military police eviction operation against the Pu Lof Mapuche community in the Chubut department of Cushamen. Witnesses say they saw officers shove the 28-year-old into a van and drive away.
After the increased pressure from Mapuche activists, human rights groups, and the U.N., the government has announced a reward of about US$28,000 for information on the whereabouts of the Mapuche supporter and activist who has been missing since Aug. 1.
The reward will go to those who “without having intervened in the criminal act, provide useful information to help find the whereabouts” of Maldonado.
Marches held Monday night outside congress were organized and attended by more than seven human rights organizations and political parties, demanding Maldonado’s safe return. Protesters say police attacked the demonstration later in the night, leading to clashes.
Maldonado's family blame the military police for the young man’s disappearance, although the government denies its involvement.
Guido Otranto, Esquel’s federal judge and the minister presiding over the case, stated that there is so far no evidence to support claims that Maldonado was subject to any contact from the police force.
Meanwhile, the Minister of Security Gerardo Millman has said that the government does not trust "anyone," adding that" all hypotheses are possible."