More on the new Colombia restitution bill

I’m happy to announce that Sebastián Albuja of IDMC will be guest-posting in the next ten days or so in connection with the release of a new report on restitution issues in Colombia. Sebastián previously posted some very interesting initial observations on the Santos restitution bill, and has been kind enough to send a preview of what the IDMC report will cover:

The report addresses the issue of restitution for IDPs in Colombia in connection to the bill recently brought by the Government to Congress for a land restitution law.  The report provides an analysis and description of the problems that the reparations program must overcome and its challenges, and a description of processes for reparations that have taken place up to now as the context in which this brand new bill will be debated. It also evaluates the latest bill, including its positive aspects in terms of its legal adequacy vis-a-vis international law on restitution, issues that the bill raises and questions it leaves unanswered.

In the meantime, an interesting piece has been published by Olof Blomqvist on OpenDemocracy. The author is realistic in portraying both the political obstacles to passage of the bill and the practical obstacles to its implementation, but ends on a strikingly upbeat note:

Almost two months into his presidency, Santos has already made several high-profile attempts to distinguish himself from his predecessor. While the land reform effort has not received much international media attention, it could end up being the most important. Successful implementation could reap rewards not just in terms of security and economic development, but also go some way towards providing reconciliation for the millions of Colombians affected by paramilitary and guerrilla violence.

So for a splash of cold water, its worth reading the latest OCHA Colombia humanitarian bulletin, which documents ongoing displacement and land-grabbing in Córdoba and Chocó Departments.

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