Since the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) first began DNA work in 2017 to identify unknown Argentine soldiers buried in the islands, the Falkland Islands Government has continued to uphold both its humanitarian principles and commitment to the Geneva Convention.
Since then, previous exhumations and DNA analysis has enabled 115 people to be identified and their families informed where their relatives are buried. The Falkland Islands Government subsequently hosted two successful and historic visits by those families in March 2018 and 2019, so that they could see where their loved ones lay.
While on a recent visit to London in August 2020, Falkland Islands Government parliamentarians Mark Pollard and Teslyn Barkman, met with the ICRC to update them on COVID-19 restrictions and confirm the government’s support for the humanitarian work to take DNA samples of the remaining unidentified soldiers. The recent exchange of notes between the UK Government and Argentine Government reaffirms the support for further work.
MLA Dr Barry Elsby, Deputy Chair of the Legislative Assembly, said: “We freely committed to this humanitarian work in the 2016 Joint Communiqué signed by the British and Argentine Governments, and agreed with the Falkland Islands Government. It signals that all three parties recognise the significance of the Joint Communiqué and, despite the challenging global pandemic, the need to progress other matters covered within the Communiqué, such as removing obstacles limiting the economic growth and sustainable development of the Falkland Islands and protecting fish stocks.
“Our government stands ready to work with regional partners to develop a regional fisheries management plan and to progress other matters of mutual interest. Anyone who has visited our home and has knowledge of the Falkland Islands will understand our desire to see further positive action in respect of the Communiqué and can appreciate the work that has already been done in terms of the humanitarian aspects of that agreement.”