Colombia’s House of Representatives on Monday approved a law on reparation for victims of the country’s violent conflict after adapting the bill so only victims of violence committed after 1990 can apply for compensation.
The decision of the coalition lawmakers to exclude victims of the conflict in the 1980s angered leftist opposition party Polo Democratico. “The paramilitary groups formed in these times, the first massacres took place and four presidential candidates were murdered,” said Polo representative Ivan Cepeda, whose father, a congressman for the communist Union Patriotica (UP) party, was killed in 1994.
When the government coalition in the House did not give in to the opposition party’s demands to include violence from the 1980s, the party representatives left the session and boycotted the vote.
The passed bill grants equal rights to victims of violence committed by illegal armed groups and state agents.
Before becoming law, the bill will have to be approved in a number of congressional sessions, and then be tested by the Constitutional Court.