Colombia’s agriculture minister claimed Monday that the Victims and Land Restitution Act is not up for negotiation during the peace process with rebel group FARC.
Agriculture Minister Juan Camilo Restrepo stated that the “Victims Law” that took effect early this year would not be up for discussion during the peace process.
Restrepo claimed that although rural development and access to land would be a priority on the peace process agenda that reconvened Monday in Havana Cuba, the Land Restitution Act itself would not be compromised, “this law is not subject to any negotiation: either in Havana or in Oslo, or anywhere else,” he told local media.
Land restitution has been a contentious topic in Colombia, confronting the issue of thousands of displaced peasants due to armed conflict throughout the country. The government’s recent Land Restitution Act seeks to restore lands to their rightful owners who have been forcibly displaced, allegedly regardless of the perpetrators or “strippers” of land- whether they be FARC, paramilitary or any other group, reported Santa Fe Radio.
For their part, the FARC has been critical of the government’s law not working in favor of the Colombian people. Ironically, the FARC have also been sited by the government as being culpable for at least 35% of the forced displacement.
Other entities, such as NGO’s, have also questioned the restitution law’s efficacy in its beginning stages.