Canada announces more support for land restitution in Colombia
November 14, 2012 - The Honourable Diane Ablonczy, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs), today announced additional Canadian support for the Colombian government’s land restitution efforts, which will help foster peace, security and justice for Colombians.
Under President Juan Manuel Santos Calderón, the Government of Colombia has made land restitution to victims of forced displacement a priority. Land restitution is a key component of Colombia’s justice and reparations process, in which victims seek information, transparency and judicial accountability for human rights violations committed by armed groups in Colombia.
“Canada is proud to support the Government of Colombia’s land restitution efforts,” said Minister Ablonczy. “Fair land tenure—coupled with opportunities for rural communities to earn sustainable livelihoods on their lands, free of landmines—lays the crucial foundation for long-term peace and security in Colombia. The projects Canada is supporting will make a concrete difference to thousands of families who were forced from their homes.”
The additional funding of $1.6 million supports three projects whose aim is to assist the victims displaced by the internal conflict in returning to their land. The first project supports the land restitution unit of the Ministry of Agriculture in helping displaced families receive legal land titles and return to their homes; the second supports the clearance of landmines to allow the safe return of those displaced; and the third assists Colombia’s Office of the Ombudsman in monitoring the assistance process and providing legal advice to victims.
Support for these projects further demonstrates Canada’s commitment to strengthening security and institutions as part of its strategy for engagement in the Americas. Since 2006, through its Stabilization and Reconstruction Task Force (START), Canada has put $165 million toward initiatives that promote peace and security, human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the Americas.
In the same period, the START fund has provided more than $32 million to initiatives that strengthen justice for victims, demobilization and reintegration of combatants, human rights, landmine clearance, and peace and security efforts in Colombia.