The United States will grant the Colombian government $50 million to help finance the country’s reparation and assistance program for victims of the armed conflict, local media reported Wednesday.
“It pleases me to announce the support of the United States government which will be giving a total of $50 million towards helping Colombia implement the Victims and Land Restitution Law,” said an aide to U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns.
Burns met with Colombian Foreign Minister Maria Angela Holguin Tuesday at the third annual U.S.-Colombia High-Level Partnership Dialogue, a forum in were officials from both countries touch on a broad range of policy topics ranging from enirvonmental policy to human rights to security.
The Victims and Land Restitution Law, which went into effect January 2012, seeks to compensate victims of the country’s 48-year armed conflict. The bill is meant to help victims affected by the violence of guerrilla and paramilitary groups rebuild their lives with the help of payments of up to $11,000, as well as provide land restitutions to people displaced by violence.
Along with the $50 million, local media also reported the U.S. would give another $18.6 million for clean energy production and $4.2 million for human rights education. The two governments also discussed matters such as energy, democracy, human rights, science and technology, and racial and ethnic equality.
The announcement came after the release of the State Department’s annual terrorism report that showed an increase in guerrilla attacks and conflict-related deaths during 2011. The report also claimed the size and mobility of the FARC and ELN have reduced considerably in the last decade. The U.S. praised Colombia, deeming the country’s efforts in the fight against terrorism and crime worthy of duplication.
Burns underscored the idea that the foreign relationship between the two countries continues to be more productive and important each day.