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Luz Janeth Forero Martínez is the Director of the Search Unit for Missing Persons in the context and due to the Armed Conflict (UBPD) for the period 2023-2028. With more than 28 years of institutional experience, she has extensive experience in the public sector.
Luz Janeth Forero Martínez was born in El Carmen de Viboral, Antioquia, into a family with a great dedication to public service. She graduated as a surgeon from the Universidad de Antioquia in 1985, obtained a specialization in epidemiology from the Universidad del Rosario in 1999, and was awarded a Ph.D. in Sociology of Law and Political Institutions from the Universidad Externado de Colombia in 2013.
Throughout her lifetime, Forero Martínez has witnessed the diverse forms of violence that have ravaged the country, experiences which inspired her to devote herself to their investigation and analysis.
Her personal and professional growth was nurtured at the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences, where she held a variety of technical and administrative positions at both local and national levels, ultimately becoming the General Director of the organization in 2009, a significant milestone as the first woman to hold such a role.
At the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences, she played an instrumental role in launching the publication “Forensis: datos para la vida”, which has provided crucial insights into the violence and human rights violations in Colombia for more than two decades.
One of the most significant professional experiences in Forero Martínez’s career was her time at the National Center for Historical Memory, where she played an integral role in conducting the research study titled “The Dynamics of Disappearances and Enforced Disappearances in Colombia (1970-2010).” This research was a contribution to the pursuit of truth and historical memory in the search for non-repetition.
Throughout her career, she has worked at various national institutions, including the National Institute of Health, the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare, Profamilia, and the Secretariat for Security and Coexistence of Bogotá. Additionally, she has provided consultancy services to organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the National Administrative Department of Statistics (DANE), the High Presidential Council for Women’s Equity, and UN Women. Prior to her appointment as the Director of the UBPD, she was entrusted with the position of Technical Director of Security at TransMilenio.
Regarding her work at the Department of Administrative Security (DAS), the current director of the UBPD reassures families searching for missing persons who worked at the defunct institution of her transparency and unyielding commitment: “During my time at the DAS, I held an administrative position in the Planning Office, where I was tasked with designing and implementing the system to manage the information and thus, moving forward in the analysis of violence from the perpetrators’ perspective. We accompanied the restructuring process to address the serious problems of the DAS, which led to its dissolution years later,” she asserts.