Exhumation may be defined as the legally sanctioned excavation and recovery of the remains of lawfully buried or – occasionally – cremated individuals, as distinct from forensic excavations of clandestinely buried remains conducted as part of a criminal investigation and from unlawful disinterment of human remains, commonly referred to as bodysnatching. The aim of this article is to review the role of exhumation – so defined – in the activities of CEMEL, the Medico-Legal Centre of the Ribeirão Preto Medical School-University of São Paulo, in international, regional and local collaborations. Exhumations form part of routine forensic anthropology casework; scientific research in physical and forensic anthropology; and forensic casework conducted in collaboration with the Brazilian Federal Police; and are carried out as part of humanitarian investigations into deaths associated with the civil–military dictatorship of 1964 to 1985. This article aims to offer a non-technical summary – with reference to international comparative information – of the role of exhumation in investigative and scientific work and to discuss developments in their historical and political context.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

During the Second World War and its aftermath, the legend was spread that the Germans turned the bodies of Holocaust victims into soap stamped with the initials RIF, falsely interpreted as made from pure Jewish fat. In the years following liberation, RIF soap was solemnly buried in cemeteries all over the world and came to symbolise the six million killed in the Shoah, publicly showing the determination of Jewry to never forget the victims. This article will examine the funerals that started in Bulgaria and then attracted several thousand mourners in Brazil and Romania, attended by prominent public personalities and receiving widespread media coverage at home and abroad. In 1990 Yad Vashem laid the Jewish soap legend to rest, and today tombstones over soap graves are falling into decay with new ones avoiding the word soap. RIF soap, however, is alive in the virtual world of the Internet and remains fiercely disputed between believers and deniers.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Truth commissions are widely recognised tools used in negotiation following political repression. Their work may be underpinned by formal scientific investigation of human remains. This paper presents an analysis of the role of forensic investigations in the transition to democracy following the Brazilian military governments of 1964–85. It considers practices during the dictatorship and in the period following, making reference to analyses of truth commission work in jurisdictions other than Brazil, including those in which the investigation of clandestine burials has taken place. Attempts to conceal the fate of victims during the dictatorship, and the attempts of democratic governments to investigate them are described. Despite various initiatives since the end of the military government, many victims remain unidentified. In Brazil, as elsewhere, forensic investigations are susceptible to political and social influences, leading to a situation in which relatives struggle to obtain meaningful restitution and have little trust in the transitional justice process.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Fighting a tropical scourge, modernising the nation

7 Yellow fever vaccine in Brazil: fighting a tropical scourge, modernising the nation Jaime Benchimol Introduction In the wake of the Pasteurian revolution, vaccines and serums were developed for yellow fever in many countries. Yellow fever was one of the key public health challenges in Brazil for at least a century, from the 1850s to the 1950s. During this period, the most notable

in The politics of vaccination

25 Participatory sustainable waste ­management project in Brazil Crystal Tremblay and Sarah Amyot Context People who live off materials recovered from the waste stream exist in every corner of the world. However, these recyclers are among the most exploited and socially and economically excluded people. Recyclers face enormous stigmatization, discrimination and marginalization. This project was established to focus on participatory waste management as an opportunity to generate income and to improve the quality of life of informal recyclers (called catadores in

in Knowledge, democracy and action
An Interview with Celso Amorim, Former Brazilian Foreign Minister

Brazilian diplomat. As we began discussing international affairs and strategy, Amorim’s speech assumed a calm, professorial cadence. ‘Global disorder’ undermines international cooperation, he suggested soberly. And there is a need to rescue human rights discourse, despite the hypocrisy and selectivity of its liberal proponents. Amorim leant forward when I brought up Brazil’s recent withdrawal from the world stage. As foreign minister throughout the two presidential terms of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, from 2003 to 2011, he guided Brazil to a position of

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs

Introduction All over the globe, fascism, racism and xenophobic nationalism are resurfacing in what we once thought of as ‘respectable’ democracies. Following a particularly bleak weekend at the end of October 2018 (the election of Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, reports of worsening famine in Yemen, Israeli bombardment of Gaza and the murder of eleven worshippers at a refugee-harbouring synagogue in Pittsburgh), my colleague Dr Sara Salem of the London School of Economics tweeted: ‘It’s difficult watching political scientists scrambling to understand

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Editor’s Introduction

, calling into question the viability of the European project itself. The Brexit referendum, in June 2016, provided a clear example of this. Politics on the periphery has taken a similarly illiberal turn, with more violent consequences. In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte boasts of carrying out extrajudicial killings and threatens to kill corrupt state officials, and he has launched a bloody war on drugs, for which he has been rewarded with record approval ratings. In Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, a captain of the Army Reserve, was recently

Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
Ontological coordination and the assessment of consistency in asylum requests

chapter dwells on the notion of consistency and the impact it has over the outcome of asylum claims. Taking the work of asylum screening in Brazil as a setting, I propose to look at how examiners are steered towards denials when considering the degree of consistency in asylum seeker's narratives. Along with the assessment of legal fit and empirical support, the judgment of

in Security/ Mobility

before a new attempt could be broached. One more time, the right momentum was necessary to facilitate the relaunch of the negotiations. The economic environment was completely different from 2004. At this moment Europe was recovering from a financial crisis and from a weak eurozone, while the international crisis had not had that much of an effect in Latin America. However, in 2004 Brazil and Argentina were recovering from the economic crisis of the late 1990s and early 2000s. The negotiations between the EU and other Latin American regional groups and individual

in The European Union's policy towards Mercosur: