Huge mass grave uncovered in Colombia Print
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Tuesday, 03 August 2010 16:02
  • Believed to be one of the biggest in Latin American history, with around 2000 corpses

  • Many bodies believed to belong to victims of army’s extra-judicial executions

Mass graveHuman rights NGOs, politicians and local communities used a public audience at the weekend to denounce the existence of a mass grave which is believed to contain as many as 2,000 corpses of victims of extra-judicial executions which date from 2005 onwards. The audience had the participation of an international delegation made up of MPs from the UK, the European parliament, Spain and the US, as well as trade unionists and several highly renowned human rights defenders from both Colombia and abroad.

On January 26th, Spanish newspaper Publico reported the discovery of the grave of up to 2000 bodies which date back to 2005. The newspaper says that the bodies were buried there by the Colombian army, who have a heavy presence in the area around the site in the town of La Macarena, in Meta department, about 200km south of Bogota. It is one of the biggest mass graves discovered in the history of conflicts in South American. Jairo Ramirez, from the Committee for the Permanent Defence of Human Rights, said, “The army commandant told us that they (the bodies) were guerrillas fallen in combat, but people in the region have told us about the large number of social leaders, campesinos and community defenders who disappeared without a trace”
(http://www.publico.es/internacional/288773/aparece/colombia/fosa/comun/cadaveres). It is thought there could be more than 1000 mass graves in Colombia. The Prosecutor General’s office records show that there are around 25,000 ‘disappeared’ people in the country.

Since the discovery was announced, the government has strenuously denied its existence, thus the decision of victims’ families, local communities and human rights organisations to organise the high profile event last weekend. President Uribe responded by claiming that the event, which was attended by around 1000 people from local communities, was organised by “terrorists who are the enemies of the armed forces”, whilst exalting the “heroism” of the armed forces. Exhumations and investigations into the mass grave are continuing.