Switzerland to invest in Colombia land restitution program

Posted on Mar 27 2014 - 2:43pm by Rico
(Photo: Defensoria Del Pueblo)

Colombia and Switzerland signed an agreement on Thursday for an investment that will strengthen land restitution programs, for those displaced by the armed conflict.

Switzerland has signed an agreement to invest $6.8 million into the Colombian land restitution programs sanctioned in 2011, with the Victims and Land Restitution Law. The law was created to return land to around 350,000 families that had been forcibly removed during the 60 years of Colombia’s armed conflict.

MORE: Colombia begins historic process of land restitution 

The initiative between Switzerland and Colombia was signed in Bogota during a meeting with Switzerland’s Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ruben Lizarralde.

According to Ineichen-Fleisch, ”The future of peace is closely linked to land and rural development. The objective of the project is having an impact on the Colombian system of land management and likewise participate in the regulation of land ownership in the country.”

Other countries, for example Sweden have invested similar amounts ($6 million) into Colombian land restitution initiatives. However this initiative has been forcefully opposed by rebel groups, some calling themselves “anti-restitution armies”. 

MORE: Sweden to reinforce Colombia’s land restitution program 

However the program has achieved some success, with more than 1,500 displaced Colombians seeing stolen lands returned in 2013, according to the Colombian government.

 MORE: More than 1.5K land restitutions over last 13 months: Govt 

Ineichen-Fleisch  added that the project represents an important step in the development of the Colombian cadastral system. Colombia’s national cadastre office handles land administration.

Sources

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