Finally, Colombia admits that 50,000 have ‘disappeared’

Colombia has admitted for the first time that 50,000 of its citizens have “disappeared”. The country’s congress ratified the United Nations’ International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance on October 19.

This prompted Alfredo Peña, co-ordinator of the Ombudsman’s National Search Commission, to recognise that 50,000 people have been “forcibly disappeared” – a figure that shocked even those familiar with the history of the country.

The admission confirms what human rights campaigners have been saying for years – that the state and its allies were culpable in an extraordinary catalogue of human rights abuses.

According to the Colombian Commission of Jurists, 97 per cent of the men and women – many of them union organisers, political activists or community organisers – who “disappeared” were kidnapped, tortured and killed by government troops or right-wing paramilitaries.

The disclosure comes after years of systematic repression of political opposition in Colombia.

 

Victor Figueroa-Clark

Tribune Magazine

October 29th, 2010

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