by Sebastián Albuja
Sebastián Albuja is the country analyst for Colombia for the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC). He previously guest-posted on earlier drafts of the current Colombian restitution legislation here. In light of the possibility that further changes to the legislation may come about as a result of a possible conciliation process between the two houses of the Colombian legislature, Sebastián has kindly offered to provide further updates if necessary. A pdf version of the current draft will also shortly be available at the IDMC Colombia page.
The Colombian Congress recently passed a law to provide reparations to the victims of conflict and set up a property restitution plan. The so-called ‘Victim’s Law,’ which has been in the making since September 2010, has been much awaited by hundreds of thousands of victims of violence and human rights abuses in Colombia’s ongoing armed conflict.
The law has been hailed as an important accomplishment for the victims of conflict and land dispossession, and IDMC, whose 2010 report supported the initiative and commented on the bill’s text, joins in welcoming the adoption of the Victim’s Law. In a highly charged political environment, and trailing on a path of similar failed initiatives, the political deal brokered by the majority is no minor accomplishment. With this law, the Colombian Government has taken a step in the right direction to redress the victims of a conflict they did not seek, and to discharge its obligations under Colombian and International Law.