Crafting land restitution in Colombia: optimizing a legal, social and institutional framework
- The dispossession of people from their land was a primary aspect of the war in Colombia. As an important part of the peace negotiations and current efforts at peace-building, land restitution in the country is a large-scale, multifaceted effort intended to address one of the more difficult components of the peace process. While there are many important features to the Colombian land restitution process, six stand out as particularly valuable, and therefore important for the international community to study for applicability elsewhere. These include, 1) involvement of affected communities in the derivation of the restitution program; 2) the construction of a database of land dispossession in the country; 3) the inclusion of gender considerations in the legal foundation for restitution; 4) constitutional protections for Afro-Colombian communities and indigenous peoples who are due restitution; 5) beginning the restitution process while the conflict is still underway; and 6) managing informality in land rights.