Families of missing migrants believed to have died on the U.S.-Mexico border may finally find their relatives

The Colibrí Center for Human Rights, a nonprofit organization from Arizona, has completed an unprecedent collection of DNA samples of 150 relatives of missing migrants in just a few months of collection trips with migrants living in United States. Working in close collaboration with the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team (EAAF), they applied the same protocols and mechanisms put in place for a similar work in Central American communities. That represents the first valuable civil society initiative in USA to the search and identification of missing migrants, in order to bring relief to their relatives.

Usually, families report difficulties and fear in looking for their missing relatives as some of many are undocumentated. Due to the unique situation of border deaths, this initiative is vital in offering a civil society safe place where they can submit DNA samples for comparison to the unidentified decised migrants. This collection of samples is a culmination of years of hard work and collaboration, and “it represents just the beginning of powerful work to help the undocumented find answers and justice”, states Fundación Avina.

No one has ever conducted this type of work with migrant population in USA. The first collection trips are a step to developing a protocol on DNA collection that will serve as a best practice model for others who wish to do similar work. Hence the importance of the support of the coalition CAMMINA, integrated by Fundación Avina, in developing this initiative, what may be replicable in other conflictive migration contexts.

For more information:

Fundación Avina: www.avina.net

Programa de Migraciones: migraciones@avina.net

CAMMINA: www.cammina.org/es

Colibrí Center for Human Right: www.colibricenter.org