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The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the University of Coimbra are proud to announce the forthcoming International Symposium on Humanitarian Forensic Action: Forensic Best Practices, Principles and Standards for Preventing and Resolving the Missing, which will be held in Coimbra, Portugal from 27 to 29 November 2019 .

The Symposium is organized by the ICRC’s Missing Persons Project and the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra, with the patronage of the Ministry of Justice of Portugal and of the Ministry of Justice of Spain and with the sponsorship of the following institutions: the Portuguese Red Cross National Society; the Universita Degli Studi di Milano, Italy; Aranzadi Science Society, Donostia/San Sebastian, Spain; the Argentine Team of Forensic Anthropology (EAAF), Argentina; the International Academy of Legal Medicine (IALM) and the International Association of Forensic Sciences (IAFS).

Humanitarian Forensic Action is a novel field of application of forensic sciences to humanitarian activities, initially developed by the ICRC since 2004 to assist in preventing and resolving the missing and bringing answers to their families.

Over the last 15 years the practice and research in humanitarian forensic action has expanded rapidly in line with developments in forensic science and nowadays includes a wide range of other humanitarian activities, most notably for properly managing the dead as required under international law and to help protect persons deprived of freedom, from ill-treatment and other abuses.

Preventing and resolving the missing from armed conflicts, catastrophes and other humanitarian emergencies, such as migration, remains however central to humanitarian forensic action.

The time is ripe to reflect on the lessons learned up to date by a growing number of practitioners and researchers engaged worldwide in preventing and resolving the missing and helping address the needs of their families.

The Symposium, the first of its kind, will bring together some of the founders, leading experts, researchers and practitioners of humanitarian forensic action from around the world, together with representatives of families of the missing, jurists, researchers in social sciences and artists, with the aim of sharing lessons learned, identifying challenges and proposing solutions towards principles and guidance for forensic practitioners and decision-makers, for the best use of forensic science to prevent and resolve the missing.

Post Author: hfa2019