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The Promise of Land: Law, Land Restitution, and Indigenous Communities in Colombia

Project description

Indigenous communities’ expropriated land in Colombia

Colombia’s armed conflict resulted in social and economic consequences, including a forcible land replacement that has affected the indigenous communities in disproportional dimensions. Their land went under the control of multinational companies or armed groups. In 2012, in the frame of peace efforts, the Victims and Land Restitution Law was introduced to formalise land ownership and restore expropriated lands. However, only a few of the indigenous populations have benefited from the law until now while the rest are trying to regain possession of lost territories. The EU-funded PROLAND project investigates the relationship between restitution of indigenous land and the law of 2012, examining the social, political and cultural contexts that condition the law’s inefficiency.


Forcible land displacement due to the armed conflict has been prevalent in Colombia’s indigenous communities, which have been disproportionately affected. These communities are pushing back against the different intrusions on their land from multinational companies and armed groups in their goal of regaining possession of communally held territories. Additionally, current peace efforts in Colombia have set in motion a broad programme of land restitution. The project PROLAND examines the relationship between land restitution for indigenous communities and the Victims and Land Restitution Law of 2012, a juridical mechanism that formalises land ownership and, by this action, seeks to restore expropriated land. To date, however, only few indigenous communities have been granted land under the law. PROLAND will address why more cases have not been successfully concluded. The purpose of this project is to explore law on its own merits by interrogating its (in)efficacy and employing it heuristically to disclose the social, cultural, and political contexts that lead to this (in)efficacy. This project will engender new international interdisciplinary research on land restitution and establish the conceptual bases for studying land restitution by looking beyond the domination–resistance paradigm.



Net EU contribution
€ 212 933,76
E1 6LT London
United Kingdom

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London Inner London — East Tower Hamlets
Activity type
Total cost
€ 212 933,76