The United States plans to give $30 million over three years to support the restitution of lands to displaced persons in Colombia, announced the Colombian Agriculture Ministry.
The ministry said the money was promised by U.S. ambassador to Bogota Peter Michael McKinley and would be delivered through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAid).
“We support the efforts of the current government for the restitution of land and the strategy for improving marketing of agricultural products and productive efficiency” said Ambassador McKinley, according to a ministry press release.
The government of President Juan Manuel Santos recently submitted a proposal to Congress for restoring approximately 500,000 hectares per year until 2014 to displaced families. Authorities have already begun returning land seized by paramilitaries, although increased security is needed for those benefiting from land restitution, say human rights defenders.
More than four million Colombians are thought to have been displaced by their nation’s 50-year armed conflict. Most of Colombia’s internal refugees were forced from their land by violence committed by guerrillas or paramilitary groups.