Members of the Argentine human rights group "Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo" have asked Pope Francis for help finding still-missing children taken from political prisoners during the country's 1979-83 military dictatorship.

Estela de Carlotto, president of the group, met briefly with the Argentine pope after Wednesday's general audience in St. Peter's Square. She handed him a written request that he authorize the opening of archives from the Vatican and the Catholic Church in Argentina in hopes of finding clues about the whereabouts of the children.

The organization estimates that around 500 babies were taken from their mothers while they were detained by the military.

De Carlotto told reporters after the meeting that Francis had told her: "'You can count on me. You can count on us.'"