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Supporting Reparations and Land Restitution to Victims of Violence in Colombia

Published 11/16/2012 by Global Communities

Colombia Responde Supports Reparations and Land Restitution to Victims of Violence

As one of the main strategies to consolidate peace in the country, the Government of Colombia (GoC) has designed and implemented public policies aimed to provide reparations to victims of violence. In line with this goal, the Victims and Land Restitution Law was passed in June 2011 as a mechanism to provide care and reparation to the victims.
To support the GoC’s efforts, Global Communities’ Colombia Responde MdM has strengthened public entities and civil organizations to assist in implementing this new law. The first step was to complete an assessment of the internally displaced person (IDP) situation in the region, which provided important inputs for the reparation process.
The second step is defining the Territorial Action Plans (PATs in Spanish). Even though the national government is responsible for implementing the law, local entities must be involved in order for it to be effective. Departmental and municipal governments must create action plans that define strategies, activities, budgets and a schedule.
In May 2012 CR MdM hired five consultants to work with victims’ social organizations and public entities in order to expand the action plan implementation to San Onofre, El Carmen and San Jacinto as well as to the Sucre and Bolivar departments. These consultants have technically supported the formulation of the plans and increased victims’ participation. San Onofre completed its action plan, and El Carmen, Bolívar and Sucre have significantly advanced in its definition. San Jacinto is still in the design phase. CR MdM expects these PATs to be finished and endorsed by the Committee of Transitional Justice by December 16th, the due date established by the GoC.

Land Restitution and Formalization Processes
The Victims’ and Land Restitution Law determines measures to reestablish property rights to victims of dispossession and abandonment. Institutions such as The Colombian Institute for Rural Development (INCODER) must provide the required information to the judicial system in order to carry out the land restitution and formalization processes. As a consequence, the implementation of this law introduces challenges that require the modernization of public entities and their filing systems.
CR MdM and INCODER signed an agreement to support updating the filing systems for the Bolivar and Sucre departments, which involves organizing information. INCODER does not know how much information they have, only that it occupies a space of 684 meters, including maps and data provided by entities such as the Institution for Regional Reform (INCORA), which was liquidated in 2007. CR MdM will hire a company for US $425,000 to complete the job. Once the filing system is organized, INCODER will scan, geo-reference and microfilm the information.