PBI-Colombia accompanies Nydia Erika Bautista Foundation and searchers and relatives of the disappeared in Meta

Published by Brent Patterson on

On August 3, PBI-Colombia tweeted:

“At the end of June, several women searchers and relatives of the disappeared, accompanied by @nydia_erika and PBI, visited the places where their loved ones were last seen and submitted reports.”

Along with that tweet, PBI-Colombia adds this article by team member Margherita Forni.

Forni writes:

“The river water crosses Sibao stream—located in the municipality of Granada in Meta—gently flowing as a father, accompanied by members of the Nydia Erika Bautista Foundation (FNEB), shows us where his son’s motorcycle was found. He was disappeared in 2017.

Under the strong afternoon sun, we visit the places where C was last seen and his father tells us about a call he received in 2019 when unidentified men told him that his son had been murdered and buried near the river.

Members of the Foundation meticulously mapped the streets and corners while we went to the river’s edge where C’s body could be found. His father told us that the vegetation had grown a lot in recent years, changing the landscape and making the search for his son more difficult.

The next day, on our way to Puerto Rico, we stopped to pick up Ms. P. She led us down a rural path, stopping in front of a rice field.

Her husband was disappeared about twenty years ago, accused of being a FARC-EP guerrilla. She scanned the rice field along the horizon as she also has an idea where her loved one’s body could be.

Members of the Foundation follow Ms. P’s indications, as she shook her head, lamenting not having taken photographs in the past. The rice field had not been there before and now orientation is more difficult.

These are just a couple of the stories from the families of victims of enforced disappearance, who participated in a workshop organized by the Nydia Erika Bautista Foundation, on 22 June in Villavicencio, the capital of Meta. Meta is one of the departments most affected by the crime of enforced disappearance.

PBI accompanied the event that was mainly focused on the right to truth, justice, and guarantees of non-repetition for relatives concerning their loved one’s enforced disappearance.

[Then] from June 23 to 25, several women “searchers” and other family members of disappeared people, accompanied by the FNEB team and PBI, visited the places where their loved ones were seen for the last time and where their bodies could be.

As these women told us, the difficulties they face in the search process go beyond the emotional emptiness left by enforced disappearance. There are practical challenges too. In fact, even if they can locate exactly where the body is and, even though there is a law that prioritizes exhumations, the remains often rest in locations where buildings have been constructed. The construction of homes or hospitals, or places and landscapes that change over the years, complicate and extend the exhumation process.”



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