The Latin America Working Group (LAWG) and U.S. Office on Colombia (OSOC) published a report yesterday, International Human Rights Day , on the forced disappearances in Colombia. The report, titled, "Breaking the Silence: In Search of Colombia's Disappeared ," calls on academia, the media and civil society in its conclusion:
- "Colombian human rights groups, working closely with associations of relatives of the disappeared, should carry out collaborative investigative work on forced disappearances, much like the collective work on extrajudicial executions which helped to focus national and international attention on the “false positive” scandal . International human rights groups can help by disseminating these studies, participating in international missions and carrying out their own investigations.
- Colombian and international scholars and journalists, by focusing attention on this still overlooked issue, could help illuminate and propose solutions to the tragedy of forced disappearance and awaken broader Colombian society to its dimensions and human impact."
Above all, the report calls for increased investigations of these disappearances not only to find those who are missing but also to find those responsible for their disappearance. In other words, the report argues for an end to the lack of accountability and lack of justice.
The findings of this report relate directly to IDPs (which I've been focusing on) because the threat of being 'forcibly disappeared' or having a member of your family suddenly disappear instills fear in different communities within Colombia--enough to get them to flee their homes and relocate elsewhere.
Lisa Haugaard, the Executive Director of LAWG, wrote an article, "Disappearances in Colombia on a Scale Never Imagined", in her blog on the Huffington Post outlining the findings of the report and providing links to various different websites that can be used as resources for finding missing persons, such as Internationl Comission on Missing Persons (ICMP ) . Some of these websites are of organizations founded by the families of the disappeared, such as, la Associacion de Familiares Detenidos/Desaparecidos (ASFADDES , in English, the Association of Relatives of Detained/Dissapeared) or Fundacion Nydia Erika Bautista para los Derechos Humanos (in English, Nydia Erika Bautista Foundation for Human Rights). Many relatives of disappeared have been searching for their family members for years.
Haugaard also provides a link to the Colombian government database of missing persons, called la Comision de Busqueada de Personas Desaparecidas (in English, the Comission to Search Missing Persons).
CNN Español reported on this issue on December 1, 2010. Below is the video :
In May 2010, there were rallies in Bogota also calling attention to this matter. The photos in this blog post are from those rallies.