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In 2010, the Colombian Interdisciplinary Team for Forensic Work and Psychosocial Assistance (EQUITAS), a local Colombian NGO that specializes in using forensic analysis to investigate human rights violations, requested PHR’s assistance in investigating and documenting the evidence in a number of the “false positives” cases, as well as analysis of autopsies performed on several of the victims. In partnership with EQUITAS, as well as the Association for the Promotion of Social Alternatives (MINGA) and the Foundation Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners (FCSPP), the purpose of this study is to determine if there is any indication of evidence manipulation in an effort to make it appear as if the victim died in combat with the Colombian military. The reports generated from three of these completed investigations will be presented in the Colombian courts as evidence. Two additional cases are being analyzed by long-time PHR consultant Nery Osorio.

Colombia: Fair Bernal Porras Case Update (June 19, 2012)

Earlier this month, PHR reported on the issue of “false positives”; civilians who were kidnapped and executed by Colombian military forces with the intent of identifying them as either members of the FARC guerrilla movement or other illegal armed groups. Specifically, we focused on the case of Mr. Fair Bernal Leonardo Porras, a 26-year old builder who was forcibly disappeared from a rural town in northern Colombia. Since that time, the judicial process has continued to move forward.

In Colombia, Evidence Proves Extrajudicial Executions by Military (June 1, 2012)

In 2008, the Colombian government acknowledged the extrajudicial executions of 11 young men from a working class municipality near Bogota. These victims are among those known as “false positives”; civilians who were kidnapped by Colombian military forces with the intent of identifying them as either members of the FARC guerrilla movement or other illegal armed groups. This practice allows the military to inflate the number of enemies they’ve killed.

PHR in Colombia: Supporting Justice and Human Rights through Forensics (October 12, 2011)

In August, International Forensic Program (IFP) Director Stefan Schmitt and two of the program’s expert consultants, Dr. Robert C. Bux and Attorney Nery Osorio, traveled to Bogota, Colombia as part of their ongoing project with local partner organization EQUITAS to support the independent forensic investigation of cases of forced disappearance and extrajudicial executions.

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Annual Report 2013 (June 2014)

Physicians for Human Rights' 2013 Annual Report provides a comprehensive overview of our work between July 2012 and June 2013 (PHR’s fiscal year).

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Featured Investigation

Extrajudicial Executions, Colombia

In 2008, the Colombian government acknowledged the extrajudicial executions of 11 young men from Soacha, a working class municipality near Bogota, who had originally been falsely identified as belonging to the guerrilla movement. Since then, these “false positives” have poured in from across the country with as many as 2000 possible victims being identified over the last decade. Read More »