Families of previously unidentified Malvinas soldiers will travel to the islands in mid-March. (Photo via Noticias Argentinas / Daniel García)

Only weeks before the 36th anniversary of the start of the Malvinas War, family members of Argentine soldiers killed during the war and buried as unknown soldiers will finally be able to pay their respects before their loved ones’ graves.

The Human Rights Secretariat confirmed today that on March 15th a delegation will travel to the islands in order for families of the 88 soldiers identified using DNA processes to affix the names of the fallen soldiers to the corresponding grave.

The family members will be joined by government officials, and the announcement was made today after the families met with Human Rights Secretary Claudio Avruj. A similar meting took place at the Foreign Ministry last week.

Family members and Foreign Ministry officials met last week. (Photo via Argentine Foreign Ministry)
Family members and Foreign Ministry officials met last week. (Photo via Argentine Foreign Ministry)

 

The process of formally adding plaques with the names of those identified is the final phase of the join efforts carried out by the Argentine and British government as well as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to identify the 122 unidentified bodies buried in the Argentine cemetery in the islands. Up till now, families have been able to visit the cemetery, which contains a section for soldiers “known only to God.”

Details will be finalized between the Foreign Ministry, the Human Rights Secretariat and a commission of family members.

That process took years to carry out and family members were first informed of the results at the beginning of December 2017, to emotional scenes.

Following an agreement between the United Kingdom and Argentina in 2016 that came after years of talks, and with support of a majority of the families of the dead, the ICRC from June to August 2017 exhumed and analyzed 121 tombs and 122 bodies and cross-referenced them with DNA provided by family members.

While some samples provided by family members have been inconclusive when compared to DNA samples of those buried on the islands, the DNA taken from exhumed bodies can be used going forward should more samples be provided.

The DNA analysis was carried about by the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF) and labs in the United Kingdom and Spain carried out quality control of the analyses.