Our Work

Multidisciplinary Human Identification System for Disappeared Persons At the FAFG, we apply a Multidisciplinary Human Identification System with the objective to enhance the information that is generated from each of the scientific areas to identify Disappeared persons and victims of conflict. It is a technical and scientific process that seeks the standardization, revision, adaptation, systematization, integration, and analysis of forensic information for identification purposes under a holistic approach with the inclusion of the families. It incorporates five technical departments – Victim Investigation and Documentation, Forensic Archeology, Forensic Anthropology, Forensic Genetics, and Confirmation of Human Identifications. In this multidisciplinary system, the antemortem information, the recovery or exhumation of skeletal remains from graves, the analysis of skeletal remains, and the genetic information obtained from the genetics laboratory are essential to the identification process.

Victim Investigation & Documentation

Victim Investigation & Documentation


This area is in charge of conducting the antemortem interview with the relatives of the Disappeared and victims from the internal armed conflict. In the interview, we obtain information to create a profile of the victim, and other information related to the disappearance or death. Also, we create a genogram, to determine a family group with the DNA samples obtained. This helps us analyze and compare samples for future identifications.

Life Histories

Life Histories

The FAFG’s Archive of Visual Histories (AHV) is the result of a joint effort with the USC Shoah Foundation to collect audiovisual testimonies from survivors and witnesses of the Internal Armed Conflict in Guatemala in order to promote reconciliation, foster research, and support educational goals in Guatemala and the world.
Since 2015, the FAFG has recorded more than 650 life history interviews. Of these, 31 have already been indexed, subtitled, and integrated into the Visual History Archive of the USC Shoah Foundation. For more educational resources, visit IWitness.

Forensic Archaeology

Forensic Archaeology

For this phase, we seek to properly recover the bodies or skeletal remains, as well as physical evidence and any associated artifacts. If the bodies are buried, Forensic Archaeology protocols are used to carry out a comprehensive recovery of the body and evidence. In addition, an assessment of the location and reconstruction of the circumstances of the disposal or burial, since all these elements will contribute to the identification process.

Forensic Anthropology

Forensic Anthropology

Using osteological techniques, the biological profile (sex, age, height, etc.) of the recovered remains, circummortem traumas and the possible cause of death of the victim are established. Each skeletal remains is carefully washed and marked according to the nomenclature. X-rays, graphic analysis, photographs of the remains and associated artifacts (clothing, metal remains, bandages, ties, etc.) are taken. The osteological analysis process is completed by taking a bone and / or dental sample to be sent to the Forensic Genetics Laboratory to extract DNA.

 

Forensic Genetics

Forensic Genetics

The process for identification and genetic affiliation is carried out in forensic investigation cases, establishing the genetic profiles of the relatives and the Disappeared victims. The genetic profiles obtained from the reference DNA samples of the relatives and from the skeletal samples of the recovered human remains are entered into FAFG’s National Genetic Data bank of Relatives and Victims of Enforced Disappearance to be compared pending a match. The identification of the victims is the final stage of the investigation, in which the identity of a Disappeared or deceased person is confirmed. Our Genetics Laboratory has the COGUANOR NTG / ISO / IEC 17025: 2017 accreditation, guaranteeing that the laboratory operates with an effective quality management system, generating technically valid results.

Evidence

Evidence

The purpose of the evidence warehouse is to centralize and protect the evidence recovered in forensic investigations from the field and laboratory. Evidence of each case investigated is organized and classified, which may include skeletons, skeletal remains, metallic remains, genetic samples, clothing, associated artifacts, etc., as well as the recorded archaeological files, exhumation documents, laboratory analysis, antemortem interviews, photographs, x-rays, and more.

Confirmation of Human Identification

Confirmation of Human Identification

The objective is to scientifically guarantee reported identifications. The beginning of the identification confirmation process arises from the matches generated in the Forensic Genetics laboratory. Upon receiving a match, the identification confirmation procedure initiates, consisting of the following steps: review of the genetic database, ante-mortem investigation and family reference sampling, the exhumation process, osteological analysis and collection of samples; the determination of individualizing factors; the comparison of forensic genetic and anthropological results; and finally the confirmation of the skeletal remains. With the support of DIDV, the team notifies families of the identification of their loved one through a video call or home visit.

Burial

Burial

The burial is the final phase of the process, in which the skeletal remains are returned to the families and community. Family members are accompanied and assisted at every step. We help coordinate the return of the remains with the local Public Ministry, and accompany the family and community members in a dignified burial for the loved one, respecting their traditions, culture, and time.

Programs & Projects

This department coordinates and communicates abroad with international organizations, counterparts, other partners and donors; and internally with the departments and areas to be able to report the progress of their processes and support in the logistics of activities, trips, training, among others.

Where We Work

¿Dónde trabajamos?
Estados Unidos

United States

Finalized
México

Mexico

current
Guatemala

Guatemala

current
El Salvador

El Salvador

current
El Salvador

Honduras

finalized
Costa Rica

Panamá

finalized
 Colombia

Perú

finalized
 Colombia

Colombia

current
 Colombia

Venezuela

finalized
Serbia

Croatia

finalized
Serbia

Bosnia and Herzegovina

finalized
Serbia

Kosovo

finalized
Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka

current
Bangladesh

Bangladesh

current
Bangladesh

Kurdistán

finalized

Ruanda

finalized
  • Estados Unidos

    United States

    Finalized
  • México

    Mexico

    current
  • Guatemala

    Guatemala

    current
  • El Salvador

    El Salvador

    current
  • El Salvador

    Honduras

    finalized
  • Costa Rica

    Panamá

    finalized
  •  Colombia

    Perú

    finalized
  •  Colombia

    Colombia

    current
  •  Colombia

    Venezuela

    finalized
  • Serbia

    Croatia

    finalized
  • Serbia

    Bosnia and Herzegovina

    finalized
  • Serbia

    Kosovo

    finalized
  • Sri Lanka

    Sri Lanka

    current
  • Bangladesh

    Bangladesh

    current
  • Bangladesh

    Kurdistán

    finalized
  • Ruanda

    finalized

We are looking for survivors or direct witnesses of the Internal Armed Conflict, who are willing to share their story voluntarily and contribute to educating their community and future generations.

Since 1997, we assist families in the search of their Disappeared loved ones.

About Us

+502 2232 4843

+502 5909 1103

fafg@fafg.org

Contact Us

 1a. Calle 1-53, Zona 2,
Ciudad de Guatemala

Monday to Thursday 8:00 to 16:00 Friday from 8:00 to 13:00

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