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Read the Statement concerning the remains of Julia Pastrana

Silvia Isabel Gámez
silvia.gamex@reforma.com
silviagamez2001@yahoo.com.mx

Response to your letter concerning Julia Pastrana

The Norwegian National Committee for the Evaluation of Research on Human Remains thank you for your email and for your engagement with questions pertaining to Julia Pastrana’s remains.

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 email, a letter had been received from the Governor of Sinaloa, one from Laura Anderson Barbata, and one 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 committee hopes that you will find that the arguments and conclusions in this document address most of the issues you raise in your email. A question raised by you which is not addressed in this document, concerns the role of the REC (the regional ethical committees) in the case of Julia Pastrana. It is up to REC Sørøst (Director: Knut Ruyter) to decide whether they will issue a decree concerning taking samples from Julia Pastrana’s remains.

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)