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  • A woman holds a sign that reads, "They took him alive, we want him back alive," during a protest in Buenos Aires.

    A woman holds a sign that reads, "They took him alive, we want him back alive," during a protest in Buenos Aires. | Photo: EFE

Argentines and human rights organizations across the world continue to ask the government, "Where is Santiago?"

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said it was concerned about the lack of progress in the investigations into the disappearance of activist Santiago Maldonado in Argentina, as new voices continue to demand justice, even those who support the government of Mauricio Macri.

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The Regional Office for South America also said it was concerned about the investigation. The U.N. body urged "the relevant authorities to conduct the investigation in accordance with international human rights standards."

There are clear "parameters for conducting an investigation into these types of events, especially when there are possible indications of the involvement of security forces," Amerigo Incalcaterra, head of the commission's office for South America said.

Also, the directors of some the largest companies and banks in Argentina signed a joint statement against the disappearance of Santiago Maldonado, which occurred on Aug. 1 during a police raid on a Mapuche community.

The heads of these companies, usually supportive of the government of Macri, also regretted that a demonstration in Plaza de Mayo last week to ask for his whereabouts ended with serious incidents and 31 detained.

They rejected violence and called for a "prompt solution through institutional paths" to the crisis, where human rights organizations accuse the police and the government of being involved and hiding information on the case.

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The letter was signed by the Association of Banks of Argentina, the Argentine Business Association, and the Bar Association of the City of Buenos Aires, among other groups. 

Among the companies, there were Arcor, Mercado Libre, Grupo Clarin, La Nacion, Cencosud, and banks like Santander, BBVA, HSBC, Citibank and BNP Paribas.

"It is for such a circumstance that the signatories here consider that the concern we all share for Santiago Maldonado and his family must find a prompt solution to the institutional paths and avoid any kind of violent action and or party political manipulation."

Meanwhile, Argentina's Human Rights Secretary Claudio Avru said that the hypotheses about the disappearance of Maldonado points to the alleged involvement of the national police.

Matias Santana, a Mapuche Indigenous witness, testified that he saw members of the military police beat the 28-year-old Maldonado and carry him inside.

Veronica Heredia of the Center for Legal and Social Studies said the only possible hypothesis in the case of Maldonado is forced disappearance.

 


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