Colombia: Civil Society Organizations Begin Adding Missing Person Data to Pilot Repository

Colombian civil society representatives and ICMP staff during an online meeting focused on data governance and information sharing.

By Laura Manrique

Bogota, 14 August 2020: Six civil society organizations that cooperate with the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) in Colombia have agreed to take part in the creation of a pilot central data repository for information related to missing persons in Colombia, a key step that enables the organizations to strengthen their data collection processes and to ensure that they do not duplicate efforts.

All of the participating organizations – Funvides (Bogotá), Credhos (Barrancabermeja), Poderpaz (Cúcuta), CDR (Cali), Favidesc (Florencia) and Madres de la Candelaria (Medellín) – have been using ICMP Identification Data Management System (iDMS) to handle the data they have collected in a responsible, transparent, safe, effective and efficient way. Their participation in the pilot enables them to share information with each other, allowing for a more efficient data management process.

The organizations agreed to take part in the pilot during an ICMP meeting focused on data governance. During this meeting, they shared their experience of using the ICMP Identification Data Management System (iDMS) to collect data related to missing persons. Tailored versions of the system, which is designed to collect, store and analyse the vast amounts of data needed to handle large-scale missing persons programs, is in use in several countries around the world.

“This is an important step in Colombia’s effort to account for missing persons. ICMP’s global experience has demonstrated that a central repository for data is crucial, and this pilot allows our Colombian civil society partners to look into a way to create such a repository without risking that any data is shared with anyone unauthorized while also supporting efficient data management,” said Andreas Forer, Head of ICMP’s Colombia program.

Colombia’s more than five decades of conflict left more than 120,000 persons missing, according to estimates from Colombia’s Search Unit for Persons Listed as Disappeared. The 2016 peace agreement tasks ICMP with supporting the Search Unit.

ICMP’s work in Colombia is financed by the European Union.

ICMP is a treaty-based international organization with Headquarters in The Hague, the Netherlands. Its mandate is to secure the cooperation of governments and others in locating missing persons from conflict, human rights abuses, disasters, organized crime, migratory routes and other causes and to assist them in doing so. It is the only international organization tasked exclusively to work on the issue of missing persons.