Falkland/Malvinas Islands: Next steps to identify Argentine soldiers buried in Darwin Cemetery agreed

09 December 2016

Delegations from Argentina and the United Kingdom today agreed, in principle, on the mandate that they will jointly entrust to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to carry out the identification of Argentine soldiers buried in Darwin cemetery on the Falkland/Malvinas Islands.

The delegations also agreed next steps in a number of areas relating to this sensitive humanitarian matter. These included the potential timing and scope of the project, the identification procedures and other details, such as logistical arrangements and the selection of laboratories for DNA sample testing.

The ICRC has every confidence that the agreement will be formalized by the respective governments at the earliest opportunity.

The talks were chaired by ICRC Director of Operations Dominik Stillhart, who welcomed the delegations – led by Ambassador María Teresa Kralikas, the Argentine Undersecretary for the Malvinas Islands, Antarctica and the South Atlantic, and Ambassador Julian Braithwaite, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva – to the ICRC's headquarters.

Mr Stillhart extended his thanks on behalf of the ICRC to the delegations for their commitment to the identification process. He said that the discussions represented "a crucial step forward in the effort to give names to the unidentified soldiers, and bring solace to their families."

The aim of this strictly humanitarian endeavour is to identify as many of the Argentine soldiers buried in the cemetery as possible. The process is expected to get under way in mid 2017.

The designations employed in this statement do not imply official endorsement, nor the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the ICRC concerning the legal status of any territory, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. Whenever a disputed territory is given different names by the parties concerned, the ICRC uses those names together, in French alphabetical order.

For further information, please contact:

Jenny Tobias, ICRC Geneva, +41 79 536 92 48 (English)
Sandra Lefcovich, ICRC Brasilia, +55 619 81 75 15 99 (Spanish/Portuguese)
Matthew Morris, ICRC London, +44 7720 040 080 (English)