The United Kingdom regretted that Argentina was 'making politics out of a humanitarian issue”, following the claim from the administration of President Cristina Fernandez that UK was delaying the identification process of 123 Argentine soldiers, who died during the 1982 Falklands War and were buried as the Unknown Warriors on the Islands Argentine cemetery.
The military conflict with United Kingdom after the Argentine military invaded the Falklands in 1982 ended with the transgressors' capitulation and over 900 people dead, including three Islanders. The Argentine cemetery at Darwin has 237 graves, of which 123 remain unidentified.
On Monday Buenos Aires daily La Nación reported citing government sources that London has not replied to a request sent by Argentina five months ago to allow Red Cross and Argentine forensic experts carry out DNA testing on soldiers buried in the Falklands under the caption Argentine soldier known only to God. The newspaper added that the process will have to be delayed for at least five more months due to the forthcoming winter in the Southern Hemisphere.
The article from Martin Dinatale, quoting Argentine government sources, underlines that the UK is doing its utmost to delay the arrival of International Red Cross and Argentine forensic experts to the Falklands to begin the task of checking the DNAs of families who lost beloved ones in the war with those of remains in the NN graves.
This can only lead us to believe that UK is applying delay tactics, since this means waiting five months before good climate conditions return to the Islands, writes La Nacion quoting its source, adding that the delay can also be attributed to the current political campaign leading to 7 May general election.
Last 2 April during the 32nd anniversary of the war, President Cristina Fernandez in a speech from Ushuaia announced that the collection of DNA samples from next of kin for testing with the graves' NN remains had been completed and only the 'political decision' from the UK was missing to advance in the humanitarian aspect of the issue.
Apparently Argentina six months ago through the International Red Cross presented the request for the forensic experts to travel to the Falklands, but so far there has been no reply.
However a Foreign Office spokesperson speaking to La Nación said that as with the Falkland Islands government, we show our solidarity with the families of those who lost their lives in the Falklands and wish to identify their beloved ones. It's a delicate and complex humanitarian matter which the British government takes seriously.
The Argentine government understandably took its time to present the proposal, which is being analyzed by the corresponding parties. The issue can't be rushed since it is important to outline the process in the correct way. We regret that the Argentine government has decided to politicize this humanitarian issue, concluded the statement.
Last year Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire called on Argentina to contact the UK and Falklands' governments formally to implement the process of identification of NN soldiers' remains. However Argentina argued that since it was a humanitarian issue it was coordinated by the International Red Cross and not directly between London and Buenos Aires.
Nevertheless it should be recalled that when the DNA initiative was first launched by the government of Cristina Fernandez not all families agreed, and the Relatives of the Fallen in Malvinas commission was openly disappointed the announcement was done without previous consultation. (Mercopress 25/04/2012).
“There are families that wish to see the grave of their loved one identified, which is legitimate, but there are also families that express the opposite since they have gone through the mourning process, which is also legitimate”, said at the time César Trejo, a Malvinas veteran and head of a Relatives of the Fallen in Malvinas Commission who claimed represented 550 of the 649 families who lost their beloved in the conflict.
“We must respect all the wishes and spiritual needs of all families that have their sons buried at the Darwin cemetery”, said Trejo. “It is a very delicate, and divisive, situation, since by implementing the rights of one of the families we could be violating the rights of another”.
Finally on 10 April 2012, Red Cross spokesperson Steve Anderson said that the organization was prepared to intercede and mediate “as long as it is requested by all the families and sides involved”. Since ”identifying the remains of the fallen without the consent of their families would mean reopening deep wounds and putting back the clock to very painful times”, according to Anderson.