Colombia represents one of the most comprehensive and ambitious reparation programmes in the world. With over 8 million victims and covering over thirty years of violence it promises an integral response to gross violation of human rights and serious breaches of international humanitarian law. Our report written by Camilo Sanchez and Adriana Rudling map out the reparation processes in Colombia before the new mechanisms to be established under the 2016 peace agreement between the Colombian government and FARC. Drawing from our fieldwork in Colombia in 2018, the report finds that reparations are selective, have not always responded to victims’ needs, and often delayed, with serious impacts for vulnerable groups.
The report recommends that victims should have timely access to appropriate reparations regardless of the conflict-related harms they suffered. Coordination and better integration between the different mechanisms and agencies involved in delivering reparations is a must. Victims’ voices should be heard, they should be informed of the decisions that concern them, given the means to easily navigate the systems of reparations available, and allowed to determine the degree to which they want to participate. Reparations should remain modest and maintain their specificity by comparison to measures like assistance, development and peacebuilding. Furthermore, reparations should be sustainable in terms of both human and institutional resources so that they may have a lasting positive effect in the everyday lives of victims.