Organizations launch website to help identify human remains

Three international organizations on Tuesday launched an online platform to help identify human remains found in Mexico.

The Mexican office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the Mexican and Central American delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the German development agency GIZ have launched the site Web identificació (Human identification).

“In Mexico, there is a medico-legal emergency recognized by the authorities themselves. One of the main challenges in combating it is the lack of technical consensus in human identification practices, ”the organizations said in a statement.

In this context, the organizations said they have joined forces to create a digital platform that “seeks to promote a technical and multidisciplinary discussion… [aimed at] the massive identification of unidentified deceased persons.

The Spanish-language website includes detailed information on the process of recovering and identifying bodies, which are often found in mass graves in Mexico.

Written by academics and forensic activists, the information aims to “document best practices in forensic identification to reduce delays and provide certainty for families,” the organizations said.

Finding and identifying missing persons is “a daily challenge that requires efficient and coordinated search mechanisms as well as high-quality forensic processes that include the involvement of families,” they said.

“… The serious forensic challenge facing Mexico requires appropriate collaboration between the institutions involved in the search for [missing] people as well as the participation of experts, academics, collectives and families, ”the organizations said, adding that sufficient human, material and economic resources are also necessary.

While the creation of a website providing advice on the body identification process on the surface appears to be positive news, the fact that it is necessary shows how serious the situation in Mexico is in terms of accumulation. unidentified corpses. That such a site is needed also amounts to a damning assessment by Mexican forensic authorities, who have failed to identify tens of thousands of bodies found in recent years.

“There are currently around 39,000 unidentified bodies in forensic medicine [morgues] or buried anonymously in public cemeteries in all 32 states, ”international organizations said.

“The figure of 39,000 unidentified dead should be reason enough to critically examine the functioning of the forensic system,” said Maximilian Murck, director of a GIZ project to strengthen the rule of law in Mexico.

“One of the main tasks of the rule of law in Mexico is to develop and implement pragmatic solutions for mass human identification,” he said.

The rights of missing persons, including their right to an identity, must be guaranteed by the state, said OHCHR representative in Mexico, Guillermo Fernández-Maldonado.

However, authorities in the majority of Mexican states do not have the capacity to identify all the dead bodies in their morgues, according to the Spanish newspaper. ABC said in a report. The number of homicides rose dramatically after former President Felipe Calderón launched a militarized war on drug cartels in late 2006 and continued to rise under the governments led by Enrique Peña Nieto and Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

International organizations noted that there were more than 80,000 missing people in Mexico, adding that it can be assumed that the bodies of many of these people are among the 39,000 unidentified corpses.

They said they hoped the information on their new website “will be useful for the different actors who are involved in finding and identifying people.”

With reports from EFE and ABC

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