The Malvinas and South Atlantic Islands fallen next of kin commission, in a public statement said that exhuming and identifying remains of Argentine soldiers buried in the Falkland Islands Darwin cemetery is a most personal issue for each family, strictly humanitarian, not decided and thus rejects any political intentionality in recent statements on the matter.
Furthermore there is no doubt about the identity of the fallen in the war with Great Britain in 1982 and buried in Darwin since they have been declared National Heroes by Argentina, and the Commission also warns that the forensic identification could be an excuse for Britain to ship those remains to the continent.
The release states that given recent Clarin articles interviewing (*) Luis Fondebrider, president of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team, (EAAF), related to an eventual forensic study of the remains of the Argentine soldiers buried in the Darwin Cemetery in unidentified graves, the Malvinas and South Atlantic Islands fallen next of kin commission makes the following clarifications:
1) Sides involved in the decision in the event of forensic studies are: the Republic of Argentina; the UK of Great Britain and North Ireland and the relatives of the Argentine soldiers buried in the Darwin Cemetery.
2) The Argentine Forensic Anthropologic Team (EAAF) is a non government organization, of great scientific prestige, which has been called by the (Argentine) government to help with the scientific-technical tasks in the event of deciding the above referred studies, but lacks the representation to define the timetable and the different steps of the necessary process to validly accomplish the identification of the graves of the Argentine soldiers.
3) To advance with this process the Argentine Executive (PEN) has called on the Red Cross International Committee (CICR) which is supervising the implementation of the successive steps.
4) It was the Malvinas and South Atlantic Islands fallen next of kin Commission which demanded from PEN and CICR that international protocols enforceable to the case be respected, given the reiterated violation of the families of the soldiers resting in Darwin rights, by non relatives together with government officials.
5) Given our presentations in August 2013 an agreement was reached with PEN and CICR to adjust actions to humanitarian protocols which fundamentally enact consulting each of the families involved to obtain their informed consent.
6) The informed consent consists in a series of interviews to each of the relatives of the soldiers buried at the Darwin cemetery in unidentified graves, providing them with all the necessary information in the event of a forensic task, so that they can adopt a conscious and thoughtful decision, balancing pros and cons in the event of such actions.
7) In compliance with those accords, the Argentine government called for a team made up of different organisms to interview each of the families involved (denying the integration to that group of a member proposed by the Malvinas Fallen Families Commission, request done to facilitate dialogue and guarantee transparency).
8) CICR is working on the validation of the interviews done to each of the families, and how to solve the cases of families which still have not given their consent, and since these are very personal rights, it is necessary to build consensuses among families that support the forensic actions and those that do not.
9) The Malvinas and South Atlantic Islands fallen next of kin commission never expressed itself in favor or against the forensic actions, because it understands that it is a decision that must involve all and each of the families. What we do reject categorically is that relatives are not consulted, and that the issue be debased with political internationalities in what should remain in the strictly humanitarian field.
10) We reaffirm there are no doubts about the identity of the Argentine soldiers fallen in the 1982 war with Great Britain, since they were declared National Heroes by Law 24.950 from April 1998; what does exist are a few unidentified graves, the result of the British taking the remains of the Argentine soldiers from their tombs in the battlefield to Darwin in 1983.
11) We insist in warning that the process which opens with the forensic studies could lead to the crystallization of the British objective of transferring the remains of the Argentine soldiers from Malvinas to the continent, which would erase all traces of the Argentine determination of recovering the Islands and would make their sacrifice in vain. We demand from both governments the necessary guarantees to avoid such sacrilege.
12) The Malvinas and South Atlantic Islands Fallen Next of kin Commission is responsible for ensuring the custody, conservation, restoration and repairs of the Monument to the Fallen in the Darwin Cemetery, according to (Argentine) Law 26.498, which declared them a Historic Place and War Cemetery. We will fulfill, and enforce compliance of that Law.
Delmira H. de Cao, President
Dalal Abd de Massad, Secretary
Olga Genes, Vocal
César González Trejo, Representative
Malvinas and South Atlantic Islands Fallen next of kin Commission
(*) Argentine forensics to Malvinas aired 18 November 2014, block 3, Channel TN; Advance in the identification of Argentine soldiers fallen in Malvinas, Clarin, page 12, edition 25 November 2014.