Baylor University Professor Speaks at Amnesty International Conference on Human Rights

April 8, 2014
Lori Baker1Lori Baker, associate professor of anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences at Baylor University (Matthew Minard/Baylor Marketing and Communications)

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WACO, Texas (April 8, 2014) — Lori Baker, Ph.D., associate professor of anthropology in the College of Arts and Sciences at Baylor University, spoke Saturday, April 5 at Amnesty International’s 2014 Human Rights Watch conference in Chicago.

Baker is founder and director of the Reuniting Families Project, a program that aids in the identification of undocumented immigrants that perish during migration into the United States along the southern border. Baker and her team currently are working on the identification of 110 individuals from Brooks County, Texas—where the death toll has risen sharply over the past few years. Baker's lecture focused on the humanitarian crisis on the border with the “massive loss of life” as immigrants die while trying to cross into Texas.

“It was an honor to be asked to speak at the conference on behalf of the families about our work to identify those that have perished,” Baker said. “Part of the discussion included ways we and Amnesty International leaders can work together to better help these families.”

The conference focused on human rights issues, including the justice system, workers’ rights and gun violence among other issues. Baker’s humanitarian efforts along the border are growing to include others to address this critical issue.

For the last two years, Baker has led forensic recovery teams to exhume graves of the unidentified in South Texas and is building a Border Consortium of Forensic Scientists to aid in these efforts. She has worked throughout Latin America on the recovery and identification of remains of victims of human rights violations and assisted in the establishment of Mexico’s database for missing nationals abroad.

Baker, who was featured in a four-part series on the National Geographic Channel called "The Decrypters," has examined the remains of roughly 300 unidentified, undocumented immigrants that resulted in 70 direct identifications and subsequent repatriations as part of her Reuniting Families Program.

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