Prague, Oct 15 (CTK) – Colombia, which plans a land reform, wants to use the Czech experience with returning property to the original owners, daily Lidove noviny (LN) writes yesterday.
The lawmakers in Czechoslovakia, where the communist regime was toppled in late 1989, passed the first restitution law on return of the communist-seized property to the original owners in 1990.
Twenty-five years later, interest in the Czech experience with restitution was shown by Colombia, the paper writes.
A land reform was the crucial point of the negotiations preceding the agreement signed by the Colombian government and rebels from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), LN writes.
The list of plots that were illegally seized by gangs or partisans during the 50-year conflict is being completed now.
The plots, which make up almost one-fourth of the country’s area, according to the British daily Guardian, are to be divided among poor farmers.
The rebels found this very important, since at present, over a half of the farm land belongs to a mere 1 percent of owners, LN writes.
The Czech experts will start their five-day Colombian mission by attending a Medellin conference where the restitution know-how is to be discussed.
“It will be attended by two Czechs. One is an expert from the Supreme Land Office, the other is a Supreme Court judge who dealt with restitutions in the past,” LN quotes Milos Sklenka, the Czech ambassador to Colombia, as saying.
“Besides, the Czechs will attend workshops and seminars for the Colombian Agriculture Ministry employees in charge of the land restitution, and for the courts and victims of the country’s internal armed conflicts,” Sklenka said.
“The Colombians need to solve the problem of returning the land to all who were driven out of their homes and forced to leave their plots and fields. The Czech experience with the legislative handling of restitution is very desirable for Colombia,” Sklenka said.
The cooperation is a result of long negotiations, the last of which took place during a South American trip by a group of Czech senators in June.
The forthcoming visit by one of the Czech experts will be covered by Prague, and the other one’s visit by Bogota, LN writes.