Colombia’s new police chief, Jose Roberto Leon, said Tuesday that conflict victims returning to their land after fleeing to avoid fighting between illegal armed actors and the army could count on the protection of the state.
He said that the national police had spent the last three months designing a rural security plan as part of the Victims and Land Restitution Law, created to help displaced Colombians return to land that was stolen by armed actors over the past decades, according to radio station Caracol.
Colombia’s Victims and Land Restitution Law, officially designated Law 1448 of 2011, allows millions of victims of right-wing paramilitary, left-wing guerrilla and state violence to seek benefits in the form of financial compensation and land distribution.
Leon further stated that the plan had 16 different points that will be implemented depending on the unique problems that each region is facing. According the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Afro-Colombian and indigenous groups who live in rural areas along the pacific coast and in central Colombia have been the hardest hit by Colombia’s ongoing displacement crisis.
Colombia’s Victims and Land Restitution Law, officially designated Law 1448 of 2011, allows victims of violence committed by left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries and state officials after 1985 to seek financial compensation while providing for displaced people to reclaim land obtained through intimidation and force by illegal armed groups.
Leon officially assumed the post of national police chief at a ceremony Tuesday, where he said that fighting urban crime and simultaneously maintaining the pressure on armed groups would be the prime challenges facing his administration.
Colombia has the second-highest internally displaced population in the world after Sudan. According to the UNHCR, some 3.6 million Colombians have been internally displaced since 1997.