Representatives of 10 organizations from communities forcibly displaced in Colombia questioned the Law of Victims and Land Restoration that is being debated in Congress.
They warned that have not been consulted on the text of the bill and requested guarantees, participation and security.
They also warned that failure to respect these basic points would result in a lawsuit over the constitutionality of the act.
The representative for the organization Earth, Life and Dignity, Alfonso Castillo, said that a major concern is “the continuous and methodical murder by paramilitary groups of leaders who demand the restitution of land, taken by blood and fire, to their communities”.
He said the government of Santos “talks of reparations to the victims of armed conflict without the minimum guarantees”. He added that “the killings have been proof of this”.
Castillo recalled that in recent years, at least 51 leaders who led land restorations have been killed. The most recent was Verbel Eder Rocha, who was killed on 23rd March of this year in San Onofre, Sucre.
The spokesman for the National Coordination of Displaced Persons, Rigoberto Jiménez said that “the government is improvising, without clarity on what land it is going to restore.”
He also commented that a concern of the displaced people is that the government has no plans to take into account the victims of what they call criminal gangs.
Jiménez said that such gangs “are not anything but the same paramilitaries who now continue murdering, threatening and displacing people in various regions of the country. ”
Since August 2010, when Juan Manuel Santos took office and announced his plan for restitution of land, nine village leaders have been killed, according to official figures. Farmers’ organizations claim there have been 12 murdered.
Story courtesy of Agencia Púlsar, the news agency of AMARC-ALC