The United Nations on Wednesday asked Colombia to ratify the global convention against forced disappearance and allow families of the disappeared to seek justice through international courts.
Cristian Salazar, director of the Colombia’s office for the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) told newscast CM& that the ratification of the pact would mean that families whose loved ones disappeared are able to report the failure of Colombian justice to solve these cases.
Sarazar said he had met with President Juan Manuel Santos and Congress President Armando Benedetti in Bogota to ask for the ratification of the international treaty.
Last week, Senator Piedad Cordoba, together with human rights groups, handed 10,000 signatures to the government demanding the convention to be signed.
According to the United Nations, 17,000 Colombians are victim of forced disappearance. The country’s prosecutor general is investigating 50,000 potential cases of people taken from their homes or lands who never returned.
Tthe 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.