The UN representative to Colombia said Monday the country’s victims law has “holes” because threats and violence against displaced farmers seeking to reclaim land is impeding successful implementation.
The law, officially know as Law 1448, allows victims of violence committed by left-wing guerrillas, right-wing paramilitaries, and state officials after 1985 to claim financial compensation. It also allows for displaced people to reclaim land that was stolen or obtained through intimidation and force by illegal armed groups.
Howland said, “the risk and vulnerability of leaders in the process of land restitution are extremely high, given the criminal interests in properties subject to restitution.”
To combat these criminal interests Howland said the government should, “assure the protection of all involved, including state functionaries, judges in particular […] the security of land restitution seekers and their representatives should be a priority for authorities.”
Last week several human rights NGOs and farmers reported receiving threats from former paramilitaries in opposition of land restitution.