"Full Reparations Must Be Guaranteed" for Displaced Victims in Colombia

News from Colombia | | credit: IPS News on: Sunday, 12 June 2011
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Marco Romero, president of the Consultancy on Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES). Credit:Helda Martínez/IPS

Marco Romero, president of the Consultancy on Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES). Credit:Helda Martínez/IPS

"Full Reparations Must Be Guaranteed" for Displaced Victims in Colombia
Helda Martínez interviews Colombian human rights activist MARCO ROMERO


BOGOTA, Jun 10, 2011 (IPS) - Human rights groups and small farmers' associations will keep close watch in Colombia to make sure the new Victims' and Land Restitution Law, signed by President Juan Manuel Santos Friday, is effectively implemented.

Under the new law, victims of the armed conflict displaced from their land since 1985 will be eligible for reparations, while those displaced since 1991 can file a petition to have their land returned to them.

But while it has been widely welcomed, the new law has also drawn calls for effective enforcement.

The new legislation paves the way for legal titles to be restored to the original owners of lands misappropriated mainly by far-right paramilitaries with the support of large landowners.

The law sets a 10-year deadline for the restitution of the rights of more than five million victims displaced from their rural property, and of nearly seven million hectares of land that were seized from or abandoned by owners who fled the violence.

In the implementation of the Victims' and Land Restitution Law "there are risks, because the social services and housing subsidies to which the average Colombian has a right cannot be considered reparations," says Marco Romero, president of the Consultancy on Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES), a leading Colombian human rights group.

"Full reparations must be guaranteed," Romero, who is also secretary of the Commission to Monitor Public Policies on Forced Displacement, said when he sat down with IPS for this interview.


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