Canada announced Wednesday an additional $1.6 million to Colombia to help bolster the country’s land restitution and peace initiatives.
“Canada is proud to support the Government of Colombia’s land restitution efforts,” said Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs) Diane Ablonczy.
The additional $1.6 million will support three projects aimed at helping victims displaced by Colombia’s internal conflict return to their land. “The projects Canada is supporting will make a concrete difference to thousands of families who were forced from their homes,” argued Ablonczy.
The first project helps victims receive legal land titles and so they may return to their homes; the second involves clearing landmines; and the third provides the Colombian government with assistance in implementing the law.
The Victims and Land Restitution law, supported by Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, came into effect in January 2012. The law, which is expected to last until 2021, seeks to restore land stolen by armed groups since 1985 and provide financial compensation to the victims.
The law recognizes as victims those who were attacked by guerrillas, paramilitaries and members of Colombia’s armed forces.
Since 2006, Canada has used the Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force program to pump $165 million into peace and development projects throughout Latin America. In the same period of time, Canada allocated $32 million specifically for projects in Colombia, such as land restitution.