Senator Piedad Cordoba and human rights groups hand the Colombian government a document with 10,000 signatures demanding the ratification of a United Nations (U.N.) convention on forced disappearance.
“We assumed the responsibility of collecting more than 10,000 signatures in favor of the full ratification, without delay, without omissions, without falsifications, of the United Nations’ International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance,” Cordoba announced Tuesday.
In Article 2 of the convention, the U.N. defines “enforced disappearance” as “the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the State or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorization, support or acquiescence of the State, followed by a refusal to acknowledge the deprivation of liberty or by concealment of the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person, which place such a person outside the protection of the law.”
In 2002 Colombia adopted the crime of forced disappearance into its penal code. The Andean nation signed the U.N. convention in 2007 but has not yet ratified it.
Cordoba, who has been involved in negotiation for the release of FARC-held hostages and heads the Congress Peace Commission, called for a national dialogue on legislation regarding victims of Colombia’s internal conflict. She said there was a need for legislation on the crime of forced disappearance that records in “historical memory” the “recognition, rejection and social and judicial condemnation” of the crime.
The 10,000 signatures were handed to Carlos Zuluaga, the president of the Colombian House of Representatives and to Vice President Angelino Garzon, who is in charge of human rights concerns in Colombia.