Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Latin America: Forced Disappearances

The Inter-American Court on Human Rights is dealing with cases of forced disappearance from Honduras, Colombia, Bolivia, Panama and Argentina.
"In the history of human rights abuses, disappearances are not new. But the systematic and reiterated manner in which they have been used as a weapon designed to bring about not only the actual disappearance of certain persons but to generate a generalised state of anxiety and insecurity is a relatively recent development," said Ventura.

In Latin America, forced disappearance has been used with "exceptional intensity" in recent decades, he added, clearly referring to the military dictatorships of the 1970s and 1980s.
This is the key to the practice of forced disappearance: it controls the whole of society by making people afraid to agitate, afraid to protest, afraid to gather even for peaceful reasons, to mention anything controversial, to walk the streets at night... in short, it creates fear of public life and tears apart the social fabric. Although the figures for disappearances are nothing like they were in the horror years of the late 1970s, any number is clearly too high, and this is a practice which, as this article proves, persists across the continent.

Inter-American Court Focuses on Forced Disappearances (IPS)

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