Colombia will meet the target to redress 110,000 victims of the armed conflict two months ahead of schedule, said the director of the government’s victims reparation agency Thursday.
According to newspaper El Pais, Paula Gaviria confirmed that the reparation of 110,000 victims with $457 million which was expected to take until the end of the year, will be completed by October 30th.
Gaviria also commented that the right to knowledge and the truth for the estimated four million victims of the armed conflict, along with reparation is nonnegotiable.
“The Victim’s Law is a law of the Republic, it is a right for all Colombians who have been victims. In this way we can advance more specifics regarding how, when and where. But the rights of the victims to truth, justice and reparation is nonnegotiable,” said Gaviria.
“Peace is not sustainable, nor the end of the conflict, if the victims don’t feel they have been repaired first. We have to date 90,000 people who have initiated the process of reparation and we are going to reach the target in October,” said the director.
According to Gaviria additional funds of $38 million will be allocated during November and December.
Until the end of August, the director reported that the department with the most registrations was Antioquia with 18,000 people receiving $68 million.
“Almost 40% of the victims are of the guerrillas with more than 4 million, the government has begun reparation for those affected, for example forced displacement, kidnapping, sexual violence, recruitment of minors and landmine victims,” said Gaviria.
Human rights groups and international non-governmental organizations have however been slamming what they perceive as shortfalls in the Victim’s Law.
Only this week Amnesty International said that “the Victims and Land Restitution has failed to increase the safety of these people” who are fighting to reclaim their land and are “subsequently threatened, harassed or killed directly.”
A coalition of non-governmental organizations which visited Colombia as recently as June said that little had changed under the law. Their report published this week said that “despite the shining promises of the Victims’ Law, we found … that land restitution has not begun on the Caribbean coast.”
The group also reported that according to government figures at the time, out of an estimated 360,000 displaced families, just over 15,000 claims have been filed.
The team found that there was “very little interest at local government level. Some officials are interested, but they receive no support and no resources so that they can begin to resolve the issues.”