Falklands/Malvinas Islands: Talks planned on identifying Argentine soldiers buried in Darwin cemetery

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is to host talks with delegations from Argentina and the United Kingdom to discuss with a view to agreeing on next steps relating to the identification of the unidentified Argentinian soldiers buried in Darwin cemetery in the Falkland/Malvinas Islands. The meeting will be chaired by the ICRC and held at its headquarters in Geneva on Friday, 9 December.

The identification project is an exclusively humanitarian endeavour to try and give the families concerned answers about the fate of their relatives.

In April 2012, the ICRC received a request from the government of Argentina to facilitate the identification of the mortal remains of the unidentified Argentine soldiers buried in Darwin cemetery. The ICRC agreed to the request, motivated purely by its humanitarian mandate and the needs and interests of the families, in accordance with the applicable provisions of international humanitarian law.

The Argentine authorities handled the consultation process with the families to ascertain their wishes related to the initiative. In 2016, the ICRC carried out an exploratory visit to the Islands to analyse the logistical and technical requirements for the identification attempt.

Following the submission of the visit report, the governments of Argentina and the United Kingdom announced their intention to hold a meeting in Geneva with the ICRC to discuss next steps based on the findings of the June visit. This includes the timing and scope of the project, the human resources required to complete the identification, and other details, such as making logistical arrangements and selecting laboratories for DNA sample testing.

The ICRC appreciates the current constructive dialogue, and hopes that an agreement can be reached so that the identification attempt can get under way in 2017 to bring solace to the families.

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,
Sandra Lefcovich, ICRC Brasilia, +55 619 81 75 15 99
Matthew Morris, ICRC London, +44 7720 040 080