Colombia's Disappeared Return to View

Thousands of Colombians who have “disappeared” over the decades were commemorated in prose and pictures at a June conference in Bogota on political kidnappings, Inter Press Service reports.

“Without a Trace,” a photography and short-story contest, debuted as part of the three-day International Seminar on Forced Disappearance, an event that drew human rights activists from Latin America, Europe and the United States.

Columbian writer Jorge Eliecer Pardo was lauded for his story “No Names, No Faces, No Traces,” which one judge praised for both its subtlety and impact.

“There are no obvious, straightforward words denouncing atrocities or morbid descriptions … there is respect for words and for what happened, which is much harder-hitting than a raw description,” he said.

Since August 2002, more than 1,250 people have been disappeared in Colombia, mostly by government agents, according to the Colombian Commission of jurists, a human rights group.

Forced disappearances were prevalent there during the times of “La Violencia” through the 1940s and ’50s, and again in the ’70s.

It did not officially become a crime until 2000.

–T.J. Johnston/


“Making the ‘Disappeared’ Reappear”
Inter Press Service, June 27, 2008

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