The new Victims and Land Restitution Law, which grants compensation to people who have suffered human rights abuses and restores stolen land to its original owners, was among the legislative reforms singled out for praise.
A delegation of European ambassadors to Colombia, headed by Maria Van Gool, met the country’s Vice-President Angelino Garzon to discuss how human rights issues were being addressed and what more could be done.
The Victims Law now faced “the challenge of its implementation,” said a statement released following the meeting, adding that the E.U. would provide technical and financial support to help ensure its success.
Serious problems remained, said the ambassadors in a document signed by all the meetings attendees. “The fight against impunity, women and children in the conflict, protection for human rights defenders and indigenous settlements, protection of union leaders and military jurisdiction,” were issues to be addressed in the future.
Colombia’s progress on human rights is a particular concern to the E.U. as a Free Trade Agreement between Europe and the Andean nation moves towards final ratification.
The agreement, which will eliminates various tariffs, widen market access and reduce tecnical obstacles to trade between Colombia and the E.U., includes a clause for the protection of human rights and the rule of law.