Bogota’s Ombudsman Office denounced a “flood” of accusations of human rights violations Wednesday and requested assistance to be able to assess all cases.
Ombudsman for Human Rights, Monica Naranjo, receives daily 100 cases of complaints of displacement, forced disappearances and threat pamphlets. One Ombudsman is simply not enough to deal with all cases, Naranjo told newspaper El Espectador.
The official is most worried about the thousands of displaced people currently living in the streets of Bogota. More than 1000 people, displaced by Colombia’s violent conflict, live in the Parque Tercer Milenio, 220 in the neighborhood Carvajal.
Bogota mayor Samuel Moreno reiterated several times that the city is losing control over the situation. Although the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) offered help, the movement does not slow down given that 50 displaced families arrive daily in the capital.
But not only complaints about displacements have increased, the number of alleged forced disappearances have gone up too. According to Ombudsman Francisco Rojas Birry, accusations of disappearances have “skyrocketed” in the past years.
Rojas says he has repeatedly denounced disappearnces of minors in Bogota which later were presented as guerrillas killed in combat. Only eleven cases, involving 70 soldiers, are currently being processed in court, he says.
The Ombudsman warned that there will be new cases of ‘false positives’ in Bogota and referred to the deaths of two young men who disappeared in Bogota last September. One day later, their bodies were found in Boyaca as alleged victims of “military clashes” between the army and guerrillas.
“The cruel murder of these young men show the urgent need to adopt a mechanism to respond quickly to complaints about forced disappearances and ‘false positives’,” Rojas said.
More than a thousand members of the armed forces are suspected of
having murdered civilians in Colombia to make the war against illegal armed groups
look more effective and to receive rewards.