Afro-descendants call on Colombian president for equality

Publish Date: 
Thursday, October 11, 2018


Movimiento Afrocolombiano Cimarrón (social movement of Colombian people of African descent) has issued a national call to demand equal rights from the Colombian government. The appeal is being made through a series of petitions recently submitted to Colombian President Iván Duque Márquez.  

Historically, Afro-Colombian communities have been subject to exclusion and marginalization, with negative effects on the exercise of their economic, social and cultural rights. They constitute the largest segment of the lower economic class and have lower socio-economic indicators than the general population.  Colombian populations of African descent have also been disproportionately impacted by violence during the internal conflict.  

In response, Afro-Colombian organizations and communities have submitted a series of petitions to the Colombian government and its President, with the aim of remedying the discrimination and exclusion experienced by this population.

The petitions call for creating legislation and projects to facilitate the economic and social development of Afro-Colombian communities. These include comprehensive development programs developed in collaboration with Afro-Colombian communities, the provision of the right to prior consultation, and land reparation and restitution to Afro-Colombian communities affected by the internal conflict in Colombia. Similarly, the creation of a Special Afro-Colombian Territorial Entity is requested by means of a legislative act.

The petitions also propose specific measures to combat racism and exclusion of Afro-Colombian communities, such as public policies of affirmative differentiation, the creation of institutional entities for the prevention and elimination of racism, and the institutional strengthening of Afro-Colombian movements and the security of social leaders and human rights defenders. They further request the Colombian government to recognize the competence of the International Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination to receive and examine complaints from individuals and groups.   

States have committed to ensure the equality and dignity of every human being, and the Colombian State has the obligation to undertake measures towards achieving universal respect and enjoyment of human rights. According to Article 2.2 of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the States shall, “when the circumstances so warrant, take, […] special and concrete measures to ensure the adequate development and protection of certain racial groups or individuals belonging to them” to ensure equal enjoyment of rights.