Forced displacement of Colombian citizens increases by 150,000 people a year, Ariranga Govindasamy Pillay, one of 18 experts from the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) said at a Geneva conference Tuesday.
“94% of the displaced live below the poverty line and only 20% of the land stripped from them has been investigated. What about the other 80%? There seems to be impunity for the perpertrators,” said Pillay.
“We have a huge amount of internally displaced people, there are 3.3 million, which is about 7% of the population,” said Colombia’s Director of National Planning Esteban Piedrahita.
“We have confiscated 2 million hectares of land that criminal groups acquired illegally and now it’s up to the justice system to decide to return it to its rightful owners,” Piedrahita said.
Pillay also denounced the murder of eight displaced Colombians in the first two months of 2010.
“Half of those displaced in Colombia are women and there is no government policy for the protection of women’s economic, social and cultural rights, particularly in respect to health, housing, working, education and food,” said Maria Eugenia Ramirez, a representative of Colombian NGO CLADE in Geneva.
The discussion over Colombia in Geneva will continue Wednesday and CESCR is expected to give its recommendation by May 21.
Displaced Colombians say they have been abandoned by the State and complain that there are “many inconsistencies in the humanitarian aid” provided.