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Montevideo, June 6th 2023 - 12:55 UTC



Falklands: Argentina and UK agree to extend Humanitarian Plan to identify remains in multiple grave

Thursday, November 28th 2019 - 09:58 UTC
Full article 16 comments
The Argentine military cemetery close Darwin holds 230 graves The Argentine military cemetery close Darwin holds 230 graves
Human Rights Secretary Claudio Avruj (C) in Geneva with ICRC top officials. (Pic ICRC) Human Rights Secretary Claudio Avruj (C) in Geneva with ICRC top officials. (Pic ICRC)

The outgoing government of Argentine president Mauricio Macri and the United Kingdom are in talks for an extension of the humanitarian plan which, with Falkland Islands consent and under the guidance of the International Committee of the Red Cross had enabled the identification of 115 remains buried in the Islands with the sole reference, “Argentine soldier, only known to God”, the tragic legacy of the 1982 conflict.

In effect this Wednesday Argentine Human Rights Secretary Claudio Avruj met in Geneva with Dominic Stillhard, head of ICRC operations and who was responsible for the very successful humanitarian plan at the Argentine military cemetery in Darwin.

”They pointed out that they are willing to continue with the Humanitarian Plan, with an addendum for one of the graves, once both sides, countries, send a formal request. Both governments (Argentina and UK) are advancing on the issue“, Avruj in Geneva told Telam, the Argentine official news agency.

It's an addendum which will allow the forensic anthropologists to check grave C.1.10 which holds the remains of Gendarmerie Second Lieutenant Julio Ricardo Sanchez and another three combatants who died during the South Atlantic conflict, 37 years ago.

The existence of multiple graves at the Argentine military cemetery in Darwin has been a recurrent issue among relatives of the fallen combatants and Malvinas veterans, who on several occasions visited the Falklands to pray and mourn their loved ones.

Sanchez in effect figured with his full name in a tomb next to other unknown soldiers, but during the restructuring of the cemetery back in 2014, in his plaque three more names appeared, Hector Walter Aguirre, Mario Ramon Luna and Luis Guillermo Sevilla.

But Aguirre, Luna and Sevilla remains were identified, at different times, in other graves, so it is believed that the remains at the Sanchez grave belong to three other combatants, to be identified.

Avruj said that during the meeting in Geneva with Red Cross officials, described as ”warm and emotive“, it was agreed that the humanitarian plan had been a great success, and ”an example to show the world“.

”Thanks to dialogue and the joint effort, we built a milestone in human rights and Humanitarian Law. We are grateful and proud for the opportunity to take advanced this mission, and knowing that conditions and commitment to continue are standing“

Besides, ICRC officials confessed that it had been ”a unique experience, a lifetime experience“ and it is being used as a model in the rest of the world with similar situations. ”They asked us to congratulate the team and the whole of the Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism Secretariat“ indicated Avruj.

The Humanitarian Project Plan was signed in 2017 between the governments of Argentina and UK, and the ICRC with the purpose of identifying the remains in 122 of the 230 graves at the Argentine military cemetery in Darwin and which remained as unknown since 1982.

With the identification, just a few days ago of combatant 115, only seven remains still have a gravestone reading, ”Argentine soldier, only known to God”, plus the three which allegedly are buried at Sanchez tomb.


Top Comments

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  • Islander1

    Could perhaps have been done 37 years ago when the then military govt totally refused to answer UK humanitarian requests over what to do with their fallen bodies.
    But simple decency and reality is that having been laid to rest 37yrs ago here- the only people who can make that decision- and they do have the right to do so - is the individual Argentine next of kin families.
    One family did so earlier in the year.

    Nov 28th, 2019 - 10:52 am +5
  • Roger Lorton

    What dispute 3rd World Betts? Argentina dropped its spurious claims in 1850. Ever spurious. Buenos Aires was trespassing in 1833. There is no dispute. Just Argie wailing. Argie moaning. About a long-lost battle. Antarctica? First come, first served. Argentina was not first. End of.

    Nov 28th, 2019 - 12:37 pm +4
  • golfcronie

    Trimonde, talk us through the “ Beagle Channel ” debacle? My thoughts were that it belongs to Chile. and yet Argentina are still claiming it.Stop banging on about the FALKLANDS do something about it , like going to the ICJ. Argentina is renowned worldwide for renegading on treaties that it does't like.

    Nov 28th, 2019 - 11:05 am +3
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