The Argentine Anthropology Forensics Team (EAAF) Thursday announced it will no be able to carry on with its work since the Argentine government had not wired the funds agreed upon.
The EAAF will not be able to continue with the identification of the Malvinas soldiers, the search for the disappeared of the dictatorship and the collaboration in cases of femicides, the non-government team which is funded through the 'Cooperation and Financial Assistance Agreement' with the national Ministry of Justice, through the Secretariat for Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism, said in a statement.
The EAAF is recognised worlwide. Its work has been pivotal to identify the bodies of the victims of the military dictatorship, of the unnamed Argentine soldiers at the Darwin Cemetery in the Falkland Islands and in the case of the Mapuche activist Santiago Maldonado, among other tasks.
The federal government has not yet released the funds that correspond to the work already carried out during 2018 and uncertainty has a grip on the team.
All the administrative steps of the agreement with the Ministry of Justice are behind schedule and we still do not know if they will transfer the 2018 funds, or even if the transfer will be for the total money committed. The officials we have checked with have indicated that they would be wiring half of the agreed amount, but even that by the end of Thursday's banking hours had not occurred, said Luis Fondebrider, founding member and executive director of the EAAF.
Since 2005, the EAAF and the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights renew each year an Agreement of Cooperation and Financial Assistance with the objective of solving part of the activities of the non-governmental scientific organisation in Argentina. Due to delays unrelated to the institution, the 2018 agreement was signed only in October.
According to the statement, the agreement included the commitment on the part of the EAAF to carry out works such as the identification of the Argentine soldiers buried in Malvinas as NN, the search and identification of the disappeared of the 70's, the collaboration in cases of femicides, trafficking in persons, current disappearances and other complex cases. In addition, the EAAF provided forensic science training to judicial personnel and security forces. The EAAF carried out these activities in 2018 pending the transfer of the agreed assistance, and is now left in a critical financial situation for its work in Argentina.
Since 2005, through these agreements, the EAAF has provided assistance in cases such as that of Santiago Maldonado, the AMIA attack, the investigation into the death of Carlos Menem Jr., and the discovery of clandestine graves of the dictatorship and the recovery and identification of more than 400 missing persons from that time.
The EAAF is completely independent in its work, which is based on scientific criteria. We have specialized personnel, operating and supply expenses that must be covered and we are not in a position to do so without those funds. It is a very delicate situation because it affects family expectations and work already started, said Fondebrider.