Ideals and Realities of Restitution: the Colombian Land Restitution Programme
In this article Jemima García-Godos and Henrik Wiig identify strengths and limitations in the ongoing process of land restitution in Colombia in order to assess its potential contribution to a post-conflict future.
Colombian Law 1448 of 2011, known as the Victims’ Law, addresses the issue of internal displacement and land dispossession caused by the armed conflict. The law aims to help internally displaced people (IDPs) to a better life by restoring their rights to the dispossessed land, to formalize property rights, and to facilitate return. To achieve these aims, the Colombian government has put in place a nationwide programme of land restitution, which involves a comprehensive set of regulations, mechanisms and procedures bringing together a multiplicity of actors. Taking as the point of departure how the Victims’ Law envisages the process, we contrast design with preliminary findings on current implementation. We find institutional overload, new conflicts on the ground, and unexpected prospects of return.