Achieving a positive identification in cases where there is no presumed identity of the deceased is a persistent and global problem. This panel will explore the role of the forensic anthropologist in human identification through a number of different themes across the borders of geography and time.
Achieving a positive identification in cases where there is no presumed identity of the deceased is a persistent and global problem for forensic anthropologists. Identification becomes significantly more difficult when dealing with large numbers of individuals such as migrants, forcibly displaced persons and casualties of war, particularly if they are biologically similar in terms of age, sex and population. Challenges arise surrounding the collection and matching of ante-mortem and post-mortem data, and political, cultural, legal and geographic sensitivities often exacerbate situations in transnational contexts. Moreover, the lack of genetic, anthropological and biocultural population data from affected global communities may further complicate forensic identification efforts. Such issues are not limited to modern populations and the identification of historic migrant communities, for example, can also often be problematic particularly in the less privileged sectors of society where little biographical material exists. This panel aims to explore the challenges associated with human identification across the borders of geography and time. This panel is open to Human Rights Lawyers involved in field of human identification and senior police officers experienced in managing large scale identifications of people from migrant communities, as well as forensic anthropologists.