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Read the Statement concerning the remains of Julia Pastrana

Gobernador del Estato de Sinaloa Mario López Valdez
Unidad Administrativa Insurgentes S/N
Col. Centro Sinaloa
Culiacán, Sinaloa, C.P. 80129
México

Response concerning Julia Pastrana

The Norwegian National Committee for the Evaluation of Research on Human Remains is grateful to you for your letter and for your engagement with issues pertaining to Julia Pastrana’s remains. The Norwegian National Committee for the Evaluation of Research on Human Remains is an advisory body. It is beyond the mandate of the committee to instruct other public or private bodies on a judicial basis.

The Norwegian National Committee for the Evaluation of Research on Human Remains sees as very important the protection of human dignity in connection with the treatment of human remains in relation to research and collections. Regarding the case of Julia Pastrana, the committee has been made aware that a dialogue has been initiated between the Mexican Ambassador in Copenhagen and the University of Oslo. The committee sees this as a promising initiative towards an ethically responsible conclusion. The committee sees burial of Julia Pastrana’s remains as ethically correct, and a nationally coordinated return to Mexico for her remains as a sound and decent manner in which to ensure this result.

During its meeting of 8 May this year, the Norwegian National Committee for the Evaluation of Research on Human Remains discussed four addresses made to the committee regarding the remains of Julia Pastrana. In addition to your letter and the letter from Laura Anderson Barbata, there were also letters from Silvia Isabel Gámez (a journalist in the newspaper Reforma) and from the Institute of basic medicine at the University of Oslo. In order to present the committee’s views and conclusions in a synoptic and orderly manner, it was therefore decided that a document be produced where the main issues are treated together. Please find this statement enclosed with the present letter. The Norwegian National Committee for the Evaluation of Research on Human Remains hopes that you will find therein the further details concerning the relevant issues treated to your satisfaction.

On behalf of the Norwegian National Committee for the evaluation of Research on Human Remains,

________________________
Anne Karin Hufthammer
Chair, National Committee for the evaluation of Research on Human Remains

________________________
Hallvard J. Fossheim
Director, NESH/ National Committee for the evaluation of Research on Human Remains

 

Copies:  Director of the Institute of Basic Medical Sciences Jan Bjålie, University of Oslo (j.g.bjaalie@medisin.uio.no)

Director of Research Bjørn Haugstad, University of Oslo (bjorn.haugstad@admin.uio.no)

Director of REK Sørøst Knut Ruyter (rek-sorost@medisin.uio.no)

The Ministry of Education and Research, att.: Toril Johansson (Toril.Johansson@kd.dep.no)

The Mexican Embassy in Copenhagen, att.: José Alvarado (jlalvarado@mexican-embassy.dk)