Colombia: Satisfaction and Scepticism for the Victims’ Law

On June 10, 2011, the 1448 law, or the Victims’ and Reinstatement of Lands in Colombia law, which, as described in Periodismo Humano, aims “to reinstate stolen and abandoned lands to internally displaced Colombians, as well as offer reparation, including indemnification to victims of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law,” was approved.

The law seeks to make amends [es] with victims affected since 1985, and the restitution of lands will cover deeds that occurred since 1991.

Atrabilioso discusses whether the law should affirm that an armed conflict actually exists in Colombia (one of the characteristics of the law is to recognise that it does indeed exist). Additionally, the economic restitution, one of its main points, is criticised, because according to the author [es]

se están convirtiendo a los muertos de la guerra en Colombia en cheques al portador; es decir que la barbarie se esta convirtiendo en moneda transaccional, lo cual deshumaniza aún más un proceso que ya de por sí era el más inhumano de todos.

they are turning the corpses from the war into bearer cheques: that is to say that the barbarity is being converted into monetary transactions, which dehumanises a process that is already the most inhumane of all.

'What about the missing bodies?' Photo by ElAlisPruz on Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Sofia Buendia dedicates a post [es] to the law and makes the following reflection:

Para algunos quizá esas dos millones de hectáreas que serán devueltas a las víctimas no significan más sino un trámite en el congreso. Pero resulta que este acto –suponiendo que los beneficios de la norma funcionen realmente- podría llegar a ser un primer paso para intentar sanar el dolor de muchos colombianos que han vivido el conflicto (Por favor aceptémoslo ya, en Colombia HAY CONFLICTO, hay guerra). Un país NO es viable mientras un gran número de sus habitantes no vivan, sino que sobrevivan cada minuto cargando rencor, odio y dolor.

For some people, maybe those two million hectares of land that will be returned to its rightful owners are nothing more than a formality in congress. But in reality, this act, assuming that it is actually applied, could become the first step in the attempt to alleviate the pain of many Colombians who have lived through the conflict. (Please accept it right now. THERE IS an armed conflict in Colombia! There is a war!) A country lacks credibility when a great number of its people don't live, but rather survive every minute in bitterness, hatred and pain.

Some of the opinions on Twitter revolve around the question of how applicable the law will be due to issues like the reinstatement of lands, which can arouse greed and selfish interests.

Ariel Ávila, (@ArielArcoIris) writes:

Uno de los principales riesgos de ley de víctimas es que institucionalidad local y regional se encuentra penetrada por mafias que impedirán restitución

One of the main risks of the Victims’ Law is that local and regional institutions are infiltrated by mafias who will impede restitution.

Emiro Marín (@EmiroMarin) posts a link to a declaration by the National Board of Victims of Colombia, which affirms that:

La Ley de víctimas es insuficiente

The Victims’ Law is insufficient.

However, there have also been positive opinions, like that of Luis Manuel Rivas (@RivasRegal):

Con la Ley de víctimas, de llegar a cumplirse, se podrían recuperar las regiones, ya que se renovaría la confianza en una paz duradera.

With the Victims’ Law, if it comes to fruition, it could recover regions and reaffirm faith in long lasting peace.

Links of interest:


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