PBI-Canada Board member Marianna Tzabiras recalls accompaniment of FAFG exhumation in Guatemala

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PBI accompanied this FAFG exhumation in January 1998.

On May 26, PBI-Canada Board member Marianna Tzabiras tweeted: “First got to know the amazing @FAFGuatemala [Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala] in 1997 when my @PBIcanada team accompanied their exhumation in Chel, Quiché. Their work to identify the remains of #Guatemala ‘s forcibly disappeared continues.”

Marianna’s tweet links the BBC article Guatemala disappeared: Reuniting families with the remains of loved ones.

That article reports: “Almost 25 years on from the signing of a peace agreement which put an end to Guatemala’s bloody armed conflict, thousands of families have yet to find the remains of their missing relatives.”

“More than 200,000 people were killed during the 36-year civil war between the military and left-wing rebels which ended in 1996. Of these, an estimated 45,000 people were forcibly disappeared, their bodies buried in unmarked pits or dumped in mass graves.”

It also highlights: “Over the years, the Forensic Anthropology Foundation of Guatemala (FAFG) has tried to locate and identify the remains of the victims of forced disappearances. They collect DNA samples from family members, carry out exhumations and return the identified remains of victims to their relatives for a dignified burial.”

Marianna has also shared the photo above of the PBI accompaniment of the Forensic Anthropology Foundation team at the exhumation of a mass grave in Chel, Quiche in January 1998. Marianna notes: “People hadn’t gone to the site or spoken about the killing since it had happened in 1982 so this was incredibly healing.”

In August 2019, Aljazeera reported: “Over the course of several years, the foundation exhumed the remains of 565 people, including at least 90 children, from clandestine mass grave sites within the Creompaz military base, 170km north of Guatemala City.”

In October 2019, PBI-Guatemala posted on its Facebook page the photo below and noted: “Last week we attended an exhumation with Conavigua Guatemala [the National Coordination of Widows of Guatemala] and the Forensic Anthropology Foundation [in the Carrizal community of the municipality of Chiché el Quiché].”

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