Meeting with members of the Unit for Comprehensive Victim Support and Reparation, Regional Headquarters of the Valle del Cauca – Cali

17 February 2020 – 2pm
Regional headquarters of the Valle Del Cauca, Unit for Global Support and Reparation for victims of armed conflict, Cali – Colombia

Alexandra Sinisterra, Víctor Tafur, Emilie Gaillard, Luz Toro, Claudia Pineda, Luis Gutiérrez, Gersain Torres, and Carlos Buenaño.

Meeting between the Chair’s research team and the members of the Unit for Comprehensive Victim Support and Reparation:

  • Carlos Buenaño, Professional with specialist knowledge about the projects and support on offer at the Unit for Comprehensive Victim Support and Reparation, at the Regional Headquarters of the Valle Del Cauca
  • Gersain Torres, Professional specialising in cooperation at the Unit for Comprehensive Victim Support and Reparation, at the Regional Headquarters of the Valle Del Cauca

At this meeting, the Chair was able to learn how the public policy of comprehensive Reparation for victims of armed conflict is implemented at the local level, and how it is linked to the notion of transitional justice. In addition, the possibility arose for a future scientific collaboration between the Unit and the Normandy Chair for Peace via a formal agreement.

Mr Buenaño pointed out that “often, in day to day operations, not much thought is given to what is being done in the framework of Transitional Justice, but rather about the practical aspects that are entailed”. Here we have an opportunity for mutual learning, whereby the Chair could offer its knowledge with regards key theoretical notions, while the Unit could contrast this with reality, putting the theory to the test.

After discussion with the meeting participants, the Chair was able to identify that within the Public Policy of Comprehensive Reparation for Victims there is a trans-generational approach and vision, but the environmental issue is not present. This is due to law number 1448, which seeks recognition of the victims and the conflict, but gives no mention to the environment.

As the team at the Unit points out, “ensuring reparation for all victims in the middle of a conflict is a very ambitious goal”. Multiple efforts are required, as well as cooperation both from all national organisations and at an international level.

The focus of this policy is reparation for victims and significant citizen participation in the processes. That said, the Chair believes that there is a close link between nature and indigenous, rural and peasant communities, and that in this period of transition, the integration of environmental issues into the Colombian process is key.

Over the next few months the intention is to continue building links with the Unit. The first step will be to sign a formal cooperation agreement with the Chair, within the framework of the issues of Peace, Transitional Justice and the Environment, which will pave the way for future exchanges.


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