Colombia Passes Law to Help Victims of Conflict

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Colombia passed a long-planned law which aims to compensate victims of violence in the country’s armed conflict and give land back to the displaced.

After he signed the bill into law, President Juan Manuel Santos told press, “If I accomplish nothing else, this will have made my presidency worthwhile.”

Those who have lost relatives, or themselves been victims of violence carried out by guerrillas, state agents or paramilitary forces in the years since 1985, will be entitled to financial compensation.

The law also sets out to return land to Colombia’s millions of displaced people, many of whom were forced off economically valuable land by paramilitaries during the 1980s and 1990s.

Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has expressed his concern over the bill, arguing that it is fiscally irresponsible, and that victims of the armed forces should not be treated in the same way as victims of illegal groups.

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