A land restitution plan to return land to over 130,000 families is announced by Colombian Agriculture Minister Juan Camilo Restrepo, reports Caracol Radio.
The government plans to implement a series of measures to start the process before the legislation is approved by Congress.
“From now until April 2011, interventions will be made to restore land to over 130,000 families who have been dispossessed by violence or should be formally granted ownership of their land” said Restrepo.
The departments of Magdalena, Bolivar, Norte de Santander, Choco, Tolima, Antioquia and Cesar will be primarily affected. Over 312,000 hectares will be restored.
The United Nations is predicting violence once the restitution law is passed.
Christian Salazar, representative in Colombia of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights, said “there is great concern that as a large-scale return to the land takes place, there will be violent reactions, and the state must protect the people.”
Four leaders of rural farming organizations have already been killed this year, apparently in disputes over land.
Salazar is calling for a robust security policy to accompany the new legislation.