Trapped between promise and reality in Colombia’s Victims’ Law: reflections on reparations, development and social justice

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Colleges, School and Institutes


Colombia’s 2011 Victims’ Law aims to return land to millions of internally displaced people and assist survivors in the difficult process of rebuilding their lives through individual and collective reparations. This article analyses the expectations, experiences and needs of two campesino communities involved in this process. Drawing on nine months of fieldwork using ethnographic and participatory visual methods, the article critically engages with transitional justice theory on transformative reparations, and identifies key lessons for the Colombian government to make the Victims’ Law live up to its promise of transforming survivors’ lives and restoring their trust in the state.


Original languageEnglish
JournalBulletin of Latin American Research
Early online date14 Jun 2019
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Jun 2019


  • reparations, transnational justice, social justice, development, displacement, Colombia