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Forensic capacity building for disappearance cases in El Salvador

San Salvador, 18 August 2022. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) continues to provide technical cooperation to the Institute of Forensic Medicine of El Salvador in the framework of the project "Strengthening the implementation of management tools for cases of disappearances and torture related to organized crime that affects women, men and youth in El Salvador", with the financial cooperation of the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program (ACCBP) of the Government of Canada.
From August 16 to 18, 2022, UNODC organized the specialized course on laboratory techniques for anthropological identification, delivered by Dr. Daniel Castellanos Gutiérrez, expert from the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences of Colombia.

The course benefited 29 participants from the Forensic Anthropology Department of the metropolitan area and 7 regional and sub-regional offices, including the departments of Ahuachapán, Santa Ana, San Vicente, Usulután, Sonsonate, San Miguel and La Unión.
"I thank UNODC for this training, which has been truly enriching, it is not usual to receive training on anthropology laboratory. The expert on the subject was very professional in resolving and clearing doubts and the methodology used, through both the theoretical presentations and the practice in laboratory, to ensure the consolidation of knowledge”, stressed Dr. Laura Avila, Department of Forensic Anthropology.

The course included theoretical and practical topics within forensic anthropological analysis in the laboratory such as biological profile, skeletal trauma analysis, burnt human remains and mixed human remains. The participants also exchanged best practices on laboratory methodologies, which allowed them to share experiences in dealing with forensic cases.

Within the framework of the cooperation provided, the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences of Colombia, also made a presentation to the participants on the operation of the forensic modules of the SIRDEC system (Disappeared Persons and Remains Registration System).

Dr. Orlando Toyos, participant of the course, recognized the work that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime carries out in favor of disappeared persons in El Salvador, delivering constant training to all the institutions related to this area. He indicated that "in the case of the Institute of Forensic Medicine, the forensic anthropology department is an essential pillar in the search, analysis and identification of disappeared persons, which benefited from the timely and quality support through the training that strengthened the knowledge and provided new information in the areas of forensic anthropology and laboratory analysis".

He also considers that the SIRDEC system for the registration of disappeared persons "is an exponential innovation that has worked in other countries and thanks to the good offices of this project may cease to be utopian".