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UNHCR Profiles Greek Forensics Professor who Tries to Identify Refugees Drowned in Evros

July 8, 2018
ANA

Democritus University of Thrace professor Pavlos Pavlidis is one of Greece’s forensics specialists working on identifying corpses of refugees recovered from the Evros River, on the borders of Greece with Turkey, according to a feature story by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

A profile on the UNHCR’s site in both Greek and English says that Pavlidis has carried out 359 autopsies between 2000 and 2017 on corpses recovered from the Greek side of the river, most of them victims of drowning or hypothermia. During autopsies, the professor collects DNA and forwards it to police, while all possessions and tattoos on the bodies are photographed and kept on record.

“I am trying to find the missing link between the dead bodies and any living family. It’s very important for me, and I want to give an answer to people who are waiting for a phone call from a (missing) son or daughter,” he tells recent visitors from UNHCR at his office in the university, located in Alexandroupoli.

Up to 2017, the professor was able to positively identify 103 bodies. Some of the deceased people’s families come to take the bodies away, and others leave them for burial in Greece.

The professor foresees he will continue to to be kept busy so long as people continue to flee across the Evros River. “There are bodies at the bottom of the river,” he tells UNHCR.

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