World Bulletin / News Desk
Colombia said Monday that 45,646 victims have disappeared or are unaccounted for in the country’s long-running internal conflict.
This announcement at a press conference by the head of the Unit for Attention and Reparation of Victims comes one day after the government’s negotiating team and members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) reached an agreement to work together to locate and identify the remains of victims missing or disappeared in the conflict.
“This agreement between the government and the FARC designed to search for disappeared people fills us with hope,” said Paula Gaviria. “It is another step in the right direction, in this enormous effort to help those families that have suffered due to the absence of their loved ones.”
Colombia has committed to implementing immediate measures to accelerate the process of identifying human remains to allow for a “dignified return” of as of yet unidentified bodies killed in combat and buried in clandestine graves across the country.
FARC guerrillas have agreed to hand over coordinates and information regarding the whereabouts of the final resting places of those “who have died in their power”. The search for remains is not limited only to victims of the FARC but also to those killed by members of the country’s armed forces.
The total number of unaccounted for victims is based on a complete registry of declarations made by family members of those missing to agents and officials working for the Unit for Attention and Reparation of Victims. This Unit believes more than 114,000 families are indirect victims of the armed conflict due to forcibly disappeared family members.
According to Gaviria, of the 45,646 missing, 88 percent are male and the majority of cases occurred in the departments of Antioquia, Meta, Valle del Cauca, Cesar and Caquetá where fighting was heaviest.
With a staggering 14,094 victims registered, 2002 was the year with the most recorded forced disappearances.
“This is a transcendental step in the dialogues, because it is working towards satisfying the interests of the victims,” said the head of the government’s negotiating team was also present at the press conference.
Colombia and the FARC have been involved in peace talks since November 2012 and agreed last month to sign a final accord next March.
Last Mod: 20 Ekim 2015, 09:08