Continued Impunity: Enforced Disappearances in Colombia

In the last two weeks, Francisco Pineda and Everto González, two members of the community council of Caracolí in north-west Colombia, were subjected to enforced disappearance by paramilitaries. They were both picked up by a group of paramilitaries, who took them away to “resolve some land issues.”

Pineda and González have not been heard from since, and their whereabouts remain unknown. Amnesty International fears their lives and the lives of other members of the Afro-descendant community may be at risk, and has issued an Urgent Action on their behalf.

Enforced disappearances persist in many countries all over the world, and violate a wide range of human rights. In Colombia, especially, there is tremendous impunity for enforced disappearances, and violators continue to evade justice.


The Challenges of Colombia’s Victims’ Law

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos signs a compensation law for the victims of the armed conflict and to restore the land to displaced farmers. (EITAN ABRAMOVICH/AFP/Getty Images)

By Dana Brown, Colombia Country Specialist

Colombia recently passed the landmark Victims and Land Restitution Law (“Victims’ Law”), which President Santos sees as so important as to define his career. “If I accomplish nothing else, this will have made my presidency worthwhile,” he said.

The legislation will soon give an estimated 4 million people the right to seek reparations for the crimes they have suffered as a part of Colombia’s almost 50-year long war.

While the entactment of the law is indeed a step in the right direction, it fails to provide for true justice and reparations for many of the war’s victims. For instance, those who are victims of guerrilla or paramilitary activity will have an easier time accessing reparations than those who are victims of crimes of the State.