PBI-Colombia accompanies CAHUCOPANA family farmers in reparations process

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On August 15, the Peace Brigades International-Colombia Projected posted, “Last weekend, PBI accompanied CAHUCOPANA in the Northeast Antioqueño in the first steps of implementing the Comprehensive Reparations Plan, in the presence of the Victims Unit.”

PBI-Colombia has previously explained that more than three hundred family farmers formed the Humanitarian Action Corporation for Coexistence and Peace of the Northeast Antioquia (CAHUCOPANA) in 2004.

With respect to the Comprehensive Reparations Plan noted in the PBI-Colombia post, Julia Zulver from the University of Oxford has explained, “Colombia’s unprecedented reparations programme guarantees financial, land restitution, and holistic benefits for millions of victims [of country’s half-century long internal conflict].”

Her JusticeInfo.net article further notes, “The Victims’ Unit and the Land Restitution Unit were created as the institutions in charge of meting out the various reparations guaranteed under the Law [Ley 1448 de 2011].”

But her June 2018 article also significantly cautions, “With only 7% payment to date, the government faces the challenge of making good on promises to its citizenry, undermining the potential for building lasting peace.”

She specifies (with the numbers available last year) that more than 8.6 million Colombians have registered with the Victims Unit as victims of the armed conflict, while only 580,415 people have received payments.

Notably, with respect to land restitution, Zulver notes that less than a third of those eligible to apply have registered with the Land Restitution Unit.

Frances Thomson has written in Forced Migration Review, “There are numerous reasons for the lack of applications.”

Thomson notes lack of trust in the authorities, absence of awareness or limited understanding of the law, as well as difficulties accessing the relevant institutions for various reasons, including travel distances and costs.

She then highlights, “But perhaps the most urgent threat to the restitution process is the attempt to crush it using violence. At least 72 land restitution claimants and leaders have been murdered, and thousands more have received threats against their lives.”

And Thomson specifies, “Paramilitary ‘successor groups’ are responsible for the majority of crimes against land claimants and restitution leaders, as is well documented and widely acknowledged.”

PBI-Colombia has noted, “CAHUCOPANA has been lobbying to raise awareness of the neo-paramilitary presence and the absence of guarantees for leaders and farmers in Northeastern Antioquia.”

It adds, “The FARC’s departure has produced a vacuum that is being filled by other armed groups, which threaten the communities and the construction of genuine peace.”

PBI-Colombia has accompanied CAHUCOPANA since 2013.

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