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Montevideo, September 18th 2018 - 21:35 UTC

Falklands: Argentine diplomats in Geneva for talks on identifying remains of soldiers at Darwin cemetery

Monday, December 5th 2016 - 08:30 UTC
Full article 26 comments
Of the 237 graves at the Argentine Memorial, 123 remain as “Argentine soldier only known unto God”. Of the 237 graves at the Argentine Memorial, 123 remain as “Argentine soldier only known unto God”.
This week's meetings in Geneva in effect include MLA Mike Summers who will be part of the round of talks. This week's meetings in Geneva in effect include MLA Mike Summers who will be part of the round of talks.
Malcorra and Boris Johnson agreed DNA tests of remains will be addressed on Red Cross humanitarian principles and under the 1989 sovereignty umbrella. Malcorra and Boris Johnson agreed DNA tests of remains will be addressed on Red Cross humanitarian principles and under the 1989 sovereignty umbrella.

Diplomats from the Malvinas Desk of the Argentine Foreign ministry have travelled to Geneva for crucial meetings later this week with their British, Falklands counterparts and Red Cross members to reach a definitive agreement on the DNA tests for the identification of the remains of Argentine combatants buried in the Darwin cemetery, following the 1982 conflict, reports Clarin.

 Of the 237 graves at the Argentine Memorial, 123 remain as “Argentine soldier only known unto God”. Last Tuesday in a “discreet diplomatic communication”, foreign ministers Susana Malcorra and Boris Johnson signed a previous understanding on which the DNA tests of the remains will be addressed based on humanitarian principles from the Red Cross and under the 1989 sovereignty umbrella.

This basic principle has been confirmed and accepted by the administration of president Mauricio Macri in a release last April signed in London and in the most recent cooperation joint statement of last September and which refers to lifting all obstacles limiting the economic growth and sustainable development of the Falkland Islands, including in trade, fishing, shipping and hydrocarbons.

This week's meetings in Geneva are also considered highly sensitive according to the article since “Islanders insist in figuring in the accords”, and in effect MLA Mike Summers will be part of the round of talks. However the Argentine foreign ministry has “several red lines”, it is a bilateral dialogue and not trilateral (as the Falkland Islanders pretend). That the remains will not be removed from the Falklands once the DNA tests have been completed and that Argentine forensic experts will work with their Red Cross counterparts in the matter“.

But said this, last moment situations have emerged. The Argentine government is working with a majority, 80 next of kin who consented to the tests, a process which was started under ex president Cristina Fernandez and later frozen because of discrepancies with London.

In effect the Families Commission of the Fallen in Malvinas, was again at the ministry this time under a new president Maria Fernanda Araujo, who not only made objections to the DNA process but also delivered a report in which she claims there are mistakes regarding the consent from certain families and collected by the previous government.

One refers to Ms Araujo family, whose brother Elbio Eduardo Araujo died on 11 June 1982 during the Mount Langdon battle: a British shell hit a hole where brother Elbio Eduardo and two other comrades, Miguel Arrascaeta and Miguel Angel González were hiding. Their bodies were completely destroyed and never identified.

In 1991, when the first humanitarian flight organized in accordance with the Red Cross, the three mothers of the recruits agreed that each would ”adopt“ a grave where to cry and honor as if it was their own child. And in all these years nobody asked them if they consented to the DNA tests.

”My Mom does not want the DNA test, she never received the visit from any psychologist or was ever asked what she wished, and as Mom's there are several other cases” said Maria Fernanda Araujo.

According to the Clarin piece, the foreign ministry promised that this week they would make all the info available to the Human Rights and Social Development Offices so they proceed to a review of all cases.

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  • Islander1

    Voice- nothing wrong with the way the wall was put up on site at all. The problem is with the shoddy design and way it was pre-cast in sections in Buenos Aires.

    Not solid stone- just thin stone veneer tiles about 12mm thick- stuck onto a now exposed cheap poor quality concrete/plaster as the glue has failed and the tiles are falling off one after the other. Resin also now leaking out of the joints where the chemicals used are reacting.

    Basically a shoddy job from Argentina which is falling to bits - maybe it is OK in BA - but not exposed to the weather down here.

    It is in urgent need of serious repairs.

    Dec 05th, 2016 - 03:19 pm +9
  • Islander1

    Think- I get the message now. Rest assured - if it does all fall over from Arg neglect - I reckon our side will at least bulldoze it all away into a big hole and leave the site bare and tidy with just the crosses over the graves and a fence. Albeit for us they were fighting wrongly, one cannot dispute that they were soldiers- in uniform- fighting for their country and one assumes what they believed in - however wrong from our view, so they deserve some respect. They were not the drunken Generals who caused it

    Dec 05th, 2016 - 08:04 pm +9
  • Islander1

    Quite right Roger. ICRC were emphatic on 3 issues when here in June:

    1- Agreement has to be reached with all the Families Beforehand.

    2- Falklands Islands Govt ARE part of it all - (whatever Buenos Airies may want to fart on about) as Arg or Families Commission will have to apply to FI Govt for the appropriate environmental planning permits etc etc..

    3 - Families WILL be offered the option of repatriation of identified remains - and ICRC will honour what the family says NOT what Arg Govt says.

    My money is on it not happening at all as the Argies will get in big huff and run away before signing.
    Incidentally - the Wall behind their Cemetery with all the names of the fallen on it IS crumbling to bits and very likely to fall over totally in the next year or two as so poorly constructed and designed.

    Also the graves will be shortly overgrown with weeds as nobody does any maintenance work there.

    All a bit sad for the lads buried there - but Buenos Aires,s problem.

    Dec 05th, 2016 - 12:58 pm +7
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