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Latin America: The region with the highest number of enforced disappearances

In the last two decades, approximately 200,000 people in the region have disappeared

Latin America: The region with the highest number of enforced disappearances

As defined by the United Nations (UN), it is classified as an enforced disappearance when a person is arrested, detained or transferred against their will by government agents, organized groups or individuals acting on behalf of the State.

Leer en español: 7 de los 10 países con más desapariciones forzadas son latinoamericanos

According to official figures of the main Latin American countries and other independent institutions, it is estimated that in the last two decades at least 200,000 people have disappeared in the region, and although the number is alarming, there could be many more missing persons of whom not yet they have registration.

Of the 10 countries that the UN classifies with the most forced disappearances since 1980, seven are in Latin America. According to the agency, this is because groups outside the law, or the governments themselves, impose control through fear, using kidnapping or disappearance as a strategy to reduce entire communities.

Colombia tops the list

The armed conflict that Colombia has suffered for more than half a century has given the country the first place in the list of Latin American nations with the highest number of forced disappearances. Statistics from the Observatory of Memory and Conflict of the National Center of Historical Memory (CNMH), account for about 83,000 people who disappeared between 1958 and 2018.

This figure increases if the reports of the Unified Victim Registry (RUV) are taken into account, which positions the number of direct missing persons due to the armed conflict at 47,259 but adds up to more than 120,000 the number of indirect victims.

Mexico, another black hole in the region

In Mexico, the war between cartels has become one of the main causes of death in the country. Figures from the National Registry of Data of Missing or Missing Persons (RNPED) indicate that until April 30, 2018, the whereabouts of 36,265 people were unknown. The causes of these disappearances are not clarified and therefore the organism specifies that many of these could not be forced.

However, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has reflected in its studies that during 2006 and 2014, 30% of the disappeared in Mexico were minors, the equivalent of at least 6,700 missing children and adolescents.

And the rest of the region?

Guatemala, Peru, El Salvador, Chile and Argentina are the five other nations of the region that enter the list of the 10 countries with the highest rate of forced disappearances. Official reports from Guatemala suggest that during 2003 and 2014, an average of five people disappeared per day, many of them in the hands of state security.

In addition, data from the Mutual Support Group (GAM) indicate that at present there are 45,000 people who since the civil war, that is, between 1960 and 1996, were reported as missing, and of the terrifying number, only 10,000 bodies have been found in graves clandestine

Behind Guatemala is Peru with a total of 20,369 disappeared during the 20 years of violence that the nation lived, between 1980 and 2000. According to reports from the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights delivered last April, of the more than 20,000 disappeared, only the remains of 865 people have been found.

Therefore, since 2011, every August 30 is commemorating the International Day of Victims of Enforced Disappearances, the date assigned by the UN aims to "demand truth, justice and, in addition, honor the memory of the disappeared".

LatinAmerican Post | Krishna Jaramillo

Translated from "7 de los 10 países con más desapariciones forzadas son latinoamericanos"

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