Colombia has until October to improve its policies on displacement,
the representative of the UN refugee agency told newspaper El Tiempo.
According to the UNCHR representative in Colombia, Jean-Noel Wetterwald, Colombia has improved made progress in earmarking funds to deal with the growing number of displaced in the country. “We now have a 500 million dollar budget, but this was ten times as little before,” Wetterwald told the newspaper.
“The Monitoring Commission, that reports to the Constitutional Court, also recognizes that there is substantial progress in health and education. But on the other hand, the generating of income, housing and land, are issues we need to work on,” the UN official said.
The return of land to displaced farmers is one of the most complicated matters, Wetterwald admits.
“It is said that 70 percent of the displaced are farmers and that they lost, according to the Inspector General’s office, between 4 and 6 million hectare. This is tragic because these people come to urban areas and have no urban culture, they are farmers and have great difficulty integrating into the city.”
“The government has until October to reshape public policy [on displacement],” the Representative said, without specifying what will happen if after October Colombia has not met with the demands of the UN.
Colombia has in between three to four million internally displaced people, who lost their homes and land because of the violent conflict in the country. The country’s government has been criticized of trying to downplay the humanitarian crisis.