Mr Neil Morris, lecturer and course coordinator for the BScHons (Medical Criminalistics) and the MSc (Medical Criminalistics) course in the Department of Forensic Medicine at the University of Pretoria (UP), has been seconded for a year to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Regional Delegation for Southern Africa.
As a forensic specialist with the ICRC, Mr Morris’s work will focus on upholding the dignity and rights of the dead, in collaboration with authorities, communities and families in Anglophone and Lusophone African countries.
ICRC Regional Forensics Manager for Africa, Mr Stephen Fonseca, said Mr Morris is a welcome addition to the team. ‘It is a pleasure to have Neil join the ICRC’s Forensic Unit. His background of academia and working within the medicolegal system will contribute immeasurably to the ICRC’s development of forensic capacity across Africa, and to the promotion of professional and dignified management of human remains in conflict, disaster and migration,’ said Mr Fonseca.
The ICRC and UP already have an active partnership to train African forensic practitioners, which began in 2016. This secondment will build on the impact of this partnership by accelerating the delivery of technical skills and knowledge to forensics professionals across Africa.
Commenting on his secondment, Mr Morris said, ‘I would like to thank the University of Pretoria, Professor Saayman and the Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Prof de Jager, for seeing the potential of this secondment and for the opportunity to make such a meaningful impact on the African continent.’ He further stated that he was ‘specifically excited to be part of the exceptional work done by the ICRC’s forensic team’.
Prof Arthur Rantloane, Deputy Dean: Stakeholder Relations and Acting Chair: School of Medicine in the Faculty of Health Sciences, stated: ‘This is a wonderful accolade for the Department of Forensic Medicine and School of Medicine, and a fitting tribute to the hard work and dedication that Mr Morris has shown through the years. The Faculty also extends its appreciation to the department and its leadership for providing Neil with an environment that was supportive of his development. We would like to wish Mr Morris all the best with his assignment and look forward to the lessons he will share with the department upon his return.’