PUBLICATION | 25 Mar 2024

Is it impossible to pay reparations?

A new research paper from Dejusticia

A new research paper reflects on the political economy of reparations in Colombia A new research paper reflects on the political economy of reparations in Colombia | PICTURE © Juan José Restrepo / Dejusticia

A new research paper from Dejusticia analyses the case of the reparations policy for survivors of sexual violence and victims of the armed conflict in Colombia.


The right to reparation for victims of human rights violations is one of the cornerstones of transitional justice, and a principle widely recognised both in the literature and in human rights standards. Despite its importance, administrative reparation programmes are frequently singled out as policies with high costs and little effectiveness. However, the literature on reparations has overlooked the question of the financial viability of these programs.

This research paper from Dejusticia provides an analysis of the financing of administrative reparation programmes, particularly in the context of reparations for sexual violence, based on the Colombian experience. It analyses how the financial viability of the reparations policy established in 2011 was defined, how the budget allocated to reparations has evolved between 2012 and 2022, and what role reparations for acts of sexual violence have played within this framework. This allows to identify methodological, conceptual, and political elements that are crucial for determining what has worked well and what has been problematic in this process. Based on this case, the paper discusses factors that should be taken into account in various contexts to ensure sustainable programmes that meet the rights of victims of human rights violations, especially survivors of sexual violence.

Read the full paper here.