The Peace Brigades International – Colombia Project recently accompanied the Regional Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights (Credhos) to the dense forests of San Pablo in the San Lucas mountain area of the Sur de Bolívar region to locate the grave of a young man killed by an armed group likely 15 years ago.
According to the National Centre for Historical Memory, 82,998 Colombians were forcibly disappeared between 1958 and 2017 and are presumed dead. The United Victims Registry, the government body in charge of registering war victims, has registered 150,000 forced disappearances between 1986 and 2017.
PBI-Colombia field volunteer Yvonne Furrer notes, “More than half [of the disappearances] are attributed to paramilitary groups, followed by guerrilla groups, post-demobilization groups, state agents, and state agents in collaboration with paramilitaries.”
“A simple wooden cross announces that a body lies there. It is alongside a trail running between rural communities, a bit hidden, protected among the forest’s trees and undergrowth. The birds and the rushing river can be heard in the distance.”
“For CREDHOS, the next step is to find the family, displaced from the region years ago. Then, and only after interviewing and receiving the green-light from the family, will they contact the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) so that its specialized team of forensic anthropologists can carry out the exhumation, accompanied by CREDHOS.”
Peace Brigades International-Canada will be hosting a representative from CREDHOS at public forums in Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and hopefully Nanaimo this coming November.
More details on that coming soon.
To read Yvonne’s beautifully crafted reflection on the accompaniment, please go to the PBI-Colombia website at https://pbicolombia.org/2019/06/14/the-grave-without-a-name/
PBI has accompanied CREDHOS since 1994.