On behalf of the Missing Persons Project of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Department of Forensic Medicine, Ethics and Medical Law, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Coimbra, we have the pleasure to invite you to the 1° International Symposium on Humanitarian Forensic Action: Forensic Best Practices and Principles for Preventing and Resolving the Missing that will take place in Coimbra, Portugal from 27 to 29 November 2019.
The Symposium is organized by the Missing Persons Project of the ICRC and its Forensic Unit with the University of Coimbra, the Portuguese Red Cross National Society, Coimbra Municipality and Forensic Medicine Graduate Studies Center, with the patronage of the Ministry of Justice of Portugal and of the Direction of Historical Memory of the Ministry of Justice of Spain, and the scientific support of several international organization
Humanitarian Forensic Action is a novel field of forensic sciences applied to humanitarian activities, including for preventing and resolving the tragedy of people missing as a result of armed conflicts, other situations of violence, migration and catastrophic events; and bringing answers to their families.
Over the last 15 years the practice and research in humanitarian forensic action have expanded rapidly in line with developments in forensic science and nowadays include 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.
However, preventing and resolving the missing from armed conflicts, catastrophes and other humanitarian emergencies, including in relation to migration, still remains central to humanitarian forensic action.
The time is therefore 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 in the field 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.
This will also be an excellent opportunity to visit the charming city of Coimbra and its University, dated from 1290 and UNESCO World Heritage. We would be delighted and honoured to have you take part in this International Symposium.

Prof. Duarte Nuno Vieira
Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra

Dr. Morris Tidball Binz
Missing Persons Project, ICRC;
Universities of Coimbra and Milan