The cities of Medellin and Villavicencio constitute 40% of Colombia’s forced disappearance cases currently being investigated, according to the U.N.
Medellin, in the north-west department of Antioquia, and Villavicencio, in the central department of Meta, together make up almost half of the total number of cases of forced disappearance currently under investigation, El Espectador reports Wednesday.
Christian Salazar the representative for the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) in Colombia, announced that there are over 27,000 cases currently being investigated, with Medellin providing 4,938 and Villavicencio a further 4,238.
Caracol Radio reported that 18,000 cases of the total 27,000 are in the hands of the newly-formed branch of the prosecutor’s office, the Unit of Displacement and Forced Disappearances, with the remaining cases under consideration by the Human Rights Unit.
The director of the Unit of Displacement and Forced Disappearances, Elsa Moyano, complained in January that there were already insufficient resources and personnel to deal with the displacement cases, which themselves represent only a fraction of the estimated 3.7 million internally displaced people in Colombia.
In that interview, Moyano said that the unit only has 24 prosecutors despite her request for that number to rise to 100 and for a further 500 judicial officers.
The U.N. representative Salazar further stated that almost one in every two graves in Meta contains a body that has not been identified by a coroner, contributing to an estimated 1,300 unknown corpses in the department and demonstrating the significant problem of resolving the numerous forced disappearances in the country.