More than 7,500 Colombians have disappeared in 2012, which is a 76% increase compared to the year before and the highest number in ten years, a report by the country’s coroner’s office revealed Monday.
According to the report, 7,530 people went missing last year. In 2011, the same office registered 4,278 disappearances.
The capital Bogota registered most disappearances in 2012; a total of 3,235 bogotanos had gone missing by the end of the year.
In Medellin, Colombia’s second largest city, 609 inhabitants were registered as disappeared.
The disappearance of women has shown an alarming upwards trend over the years; in 2012 43% of the registered disappearances corresponded to women while five years earlier this was approximately 26%.
There is no indication how many of those who went missing last year voluntarily disappeared and how many were forcibly disappeared. However, according to the authorities more than a quarter of those who have disappeared since the 1950s were forcibly disappeared and are assumed to be murdered.
In total, the coroner’s office registered that more than 60,000 Colombians have disappeared over the past decades. The U.N. has said the real number of disappeared is most likely to be higher and some human rights organizations claim the total number of people who have disappeared since the start of Colombia’s conflict is close to 250,000.
FACT SHEET: Disappearances in Colombia