Diplomats from the Malvinas Desk of the Argentine Foreign ministry have travelled to Geneva for crucial meetings later this week with their British, Falklands counterparts and Red Cross members to reach a definitive agreement on the DNA tests for the identification of the remains of Argentine combatants buried in the Darwin cemetery, following the 1982 conflict, reports Clarin.
Of the 237 graves at the Argentine Memorial, 123 remain as “Argentine soldier only known unto God”. Last Tuesday in a “discreet diplomatic communication”, foreign ministers Susana Malcorra and Boris Johnson signed a previous understanding on which the DNA tests of the remains will be addressed based on humanitarian principles from the Red Cross and under the 1989 sovereignty umbrella.
This basic principle has been confirmed and accepted by the administration of president Mauricio Macri in a release last April signed in London and in the most recent cooperation joint statement of last September and which refers to lifting all obstacles limiting the economic growth and sustainable development of the Falkland Islands, including in trade, fishing, shipping and hydrocarbons.
This week’s meetings in Geneva are also considered highly sensitive according to the article since “Islanders insist in figuring in the accords”, and in effect MLA Mike Summers will be part of the round of talks. However the Argentine foreign ministry has “several red lines”, it is a bilateral dialogue and not trilateral (as the Falkland Islanders pretend). That the remains will not be removed from the Falklands once the DNA tests have been completed and that Argentine forensic experts will work with their Red Cross counterparts in the matter“.
But said this, last moment situations have emerged. The Argentine government is working with a majority, 80 next of kin who consented to the tests, a process which was started under ex president Cristina Fernandez and later frozen because of discrepancies with London.
In effect the Families Commission of the Fallen in Malvinas, was again at the ministry this time under a new president Maria Fernanda Araujo, who not only made objections to the DNA process but also delivered a report in which she claims there are mistakes regarding the consent from certain families and collected by the previous government.
One refers to Ms Araujo family, whose brother Elbio Eduardo Araujo died on 11 June 1982 during the Mount Langdon battle: a British shell hit a hole where brother Elbio Eduardo and two other comrades, Miguel Arrascaeta and Miguel Angel González were hiding. Their bodies were completely destroyed and never identified.
In 1991, when the first humanitarian flight organized in accordance with the Red Cross, the three mothers of the recruits agreed that each would ”adopt“ a grave where to cry and honor as if it was their own child. And in all these years nobody asked them if they consented to the DNA tests.
”My Mom does not want the DNA test, she never received the visit from any psychologist or was ever asked what she wished, and as Mom’s there are several other cases” said Maria Fernanda Araujo.
According to the Clarin piece, the foreign ministry promised that this week they would make all the info available to the Human Rights and Social Development Offices so they proceed to a review of all cases.