The Guardian | 5/31/2011 9:00:00 AM
Colombia to compensate victims of armed conflict
May 31--Historic law to financially redress up to four million victims of decades-long internal conflict including those of the state.
Government and opposition figures as well as human rights activists have all hailed the legislation, which passed in the Senate last week, as "historic" and "transcendental".
The law aims to give financial compensation – equivalent to about £6,600 – for every victim reported murdered or forcibly disappeared. Colombia has one of the highest numbers of disappearances in Latin America, with more than 57,200 people still missing, at least 15,600 of which were forcibly disappeared, according to the UN high commissioner for human rights. More than 100,000 murders during the last three decades are attributed to rightwing paramilitary groups.
Days after passage of the victims' law, the government announced it had identified the remains of nearly 10,000 people buried in unmarked graves over the past 40 years by matching morgue reports with fingerprint records. Another 12,000 people, whose records were incomplete, remain unidentified. Many are presumed to be victims of the conflict although only 445 were on the official list of the disappeared.
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