The number of missing people registered in Colombia has reached 61,604, according to figures from the country’s ombudsman.
To mark the International Day of the Disappeared, Colombia’s Commission to Search for Missing Persons, which is part of the Ombudsman’s Office, released a statement with the figures of those registered as missing.
This figure raised from just over 47,000 in June 2010, due to the commission’s investigative work.
Those responsible for the disappearances include paramilitary groups, guerrilla groups and state forces, which have disappeared political opponents, members of minority groups, trade and labor unions, and other civilians as a means of terrorizing communities and silencing opposition.
Colombia is one of 88 signatories to the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and has an explicit legal framework for addressing forced disappearances, which includes the Search Commission and a National Registry of Disappeared People. In August of 2010, Colombia also passed a law requiring that the country establish mechanisms to locate and identify the disappeared.
In Colombia, hundreds of victims are added to the national registry each month. The issue of forced disappearance is growing in countries like Mexico, where dozens of children and youths are reported missing each day and thousands of bodies remain unidentified.