Guidance document

Humanity after life: respect ing and protecting the dead

Thematic Area
Recovery of remains / Excavation / Exhumation / Management of the Dead / Identification / Burial Site / Mass Grave
Open access

The bodies of people who die during armed conflict or situations of violence falling below the threshold of armed conflict – or who have perished in disasters or in the course of migration – must be handled respectfully and their dignity protected; and the remains of unknown individuals must be identified. Failure to discharge the obligations set out in international and domestic law on managing the dead – or to meet pertinent international and national standards, and implement the necessary policies and practices – could add to the number of people who are unaccounted for; it might also show a lack of respect for the dead, and disregard the rights and needs of their relatives and prolong their suffering.