Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | June 23, 2011

Challenges of the Victims’ Law

The newly signed Victims’ Law is a positive step. Yes, it’s “historic” and “transcendental.” However, here are some of its biggest challenges:

Besides returning the land to its rightful owners, the process needs to provide loans and credits, guidance for which crops and animals are most suitable where, and access to markets.

Though the law recognises victims of the state, it must not favor the victims of the FARC and of the paramilitaries.

The conflict in Colombia is far from over. As one victim told The Guardian, “The guerrillas are still there, they run the place and they are the ones who ran us out so what the hell are we going to go back for? To get killed?”

Moreover, newly formed gangs, risen from the charade of the AUC’s demobilization, are responsible for most of the new displacements. Recognising the continued threats, the Victims’ Law will accept new victims until 2021 though it is unclear if it will cover victims of the “neoparamilitaries” or the “bacrim,” short for bandas criminales.

The law has no accompanying truth commission to create a national conscience of what has happened. Colombia should look to Argentina and El Salvador to see how truth commissions there shaped a new society fully aware of what their country and their countrymen lived through. How can one put the violence behind us if there is no transparence of what happened? One can say “Never Again,” but never again what?


  1. […] Delgado-King writes about some of the challenges the recently approved Victims' Law faces: “the process needs […]

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