In the course of informal discussions during the past two years there have been expressions of support for the proposed guidance/protocols, with no dissent, including from individuals in organisations as well as practising lawyers; academics, and others whose daily tasks involve them in work with the dead and their families and searching for the missing, including police and coast guards. Although there is already support for work of this kind, and there is a related research project underway currently: “Missing Migrants in the Mediterranean”, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (“ESRC”), to examine the management by some EU member states, of both the bodies of the dead and of related data, in order to address the policy vacuum that exists at national and EU levels, by exploring the procedures and practices that are used by authorities; no existing NGO or other body is specifically working on the creation and promotion of the guidance/protocols proposed by ‘Last Rights.’ Our work may, in fact, be regarded as the logical next step to follow from the research of “Missing Migrants in the Mediterranean” referred to above, which itself is a collaboration between the University of York, City University and the International Organisation for Migration (‘IOM’). Since Stefanie Grant and Catriona Jarvis are participants in that research project, ‘Last Rights’ will be able to take into consideration the results that will be available shortly and in time for the international meeting referred to below.
A small consultative roundtable legal discussion was held at the London School of Economics under the auspices of the Centre for Human Rights on the 14th April 2016, that was attended by lawyers who discussed how Internation Human Rights law might be drawn upon, interpreted and developed to provide a sound legal basis for the proposed guidance/protocols, together with examples of good domestic laws.
All relevant sources will be used as an aid to draft, in skeleton form, the guidance/protocols, which will then be circulated informally and revised before a wide consultation takes place in electronic form in order to disseminate them quickly and inexpensively, to as many relevant persons as possible, particularly those who have a practical role in working with the dead or missing and their families.