Colombia evaluates strategies for addressing cases of enforced disappearance

The Colombian Search Commission for Disappeared Persons (CBPD) has issued a report on the implementation of the central mechanisms established by the state to address the issue of missing persons. This is the first such public report issued by the CBPD. The report aims to increase the transparency on activities implemented to date by the state in order to locate and identify missing persons.As of today, Colombia is faced with 41,744 officially registered cases of disappearances, all of which require effective investigation in order to establish the truth and the whereabouts of the missing.

The CBPD has a mandate to support and promote investigation into cases of enforced disappearance. The report issued today, entitled Instruments against enforced disappearance, was created as an effort to provide information by the CBPD to all victims, national authorities, the international community and the general public on the advances and challenges in the implementation of legislation, instruments and mechanisms when addressing the crime of enforced disappearance. The report focuses on the role of the CBPD and its member institutions, and on the current and future implementation of the National Search Plan and the Register of Missing Persons.

“We’ve witnessed numerous advances in the search and identification process in recent years as a result of the adoption of the National Search Plan and the implementation of the Register of Missing Persons, as well as the full commitment of Colombian institutions to addressing this painful issue. Despite the progress made to date, elements in a few crucial areas need further strengthening. These include inter-institutional coordination and the strengthening of relations with the victims. These have been a priority for the CBPD and something that we’ll continue to work on in the immediate future,” stated Mr. Volmar Perez Ortiz, President of the CBPD.

“The report fully demonstrates the challenges faced in the past that led to the creation of the CBPD, the National Search Plan and the National Register. Colombia’s institutions have the capacity required to address the issue of disappeared persons, and the current challenge remains how to coordinate and strengthen those capacities in order to obtain the important results the victims require. ICMP is pleased to have supported the creation of this document and hopes that the victims, as well as other state institutions, will find it useful in addressing the problems associated with the search for missing persons,” stated Ms.Kathryne Bomberger, Director-General of the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP).

The creation of the report was supported by ICMP and financed by the Embassy of the United Kingdom in Colombia and under the GTZ ProFis project implemented under the auspices of the Foreign Office of the Federal Republic of Germany. The full report is available at the following links www.comisiondebusqueda.com/Documentos/InformeCBPD2010.pdf and http://www.ic-mp.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/InformeCBPD2010.pdf.  Copies of the published version are available with the CBPD.