NB: Sebastián Albuja covers Colombia for IDMC and is currently working on a report on restitution issues there. In the meantime, he has provided a few comments on my post from yesterday, including a closer reading of the new draft restitution law which is so interesting that it deserved to be a post in its own right:
Hi Rhodri and colleagues,
I agree with you that the momentum given by the Santos administration bodes well for the adoption of a reparations program this time around. For one, the administration has a clear majority in Congress that should in principle support this Government-backed bill. However, questions remain regarding some aspects of the bill. In the meantime and while we finalize our report, here is a brief description and commentary on the proposed bill.
The ‘motivations’ section of the bill mentions that it sets out to implement the orders given to the Government by the Constitutional Court in relation to IDPs land rights. The bill does include many guarantees for victims contained in the Colombian Constitution and international law (and included in your recommendations in the Displacement Solutions report).
Firstly, it chooses restitution as a preferential mechanism over alternative means of reparation. Secondly, it makes eligible for restitution not only those with property titles, but also people that had informal tenure over land. Thirdly, it establishes a presumption that dispossession happened in areas where generalized violence took place. These areas will be determined and delimited by the government prior to the implementation of the mechanism, and will be made priority zones for restitution.