Letter to Santos Demanding Implementation of Law 70

May 3, 2018

JUAN MANUEL SANTOS
President of the Republic

GUILLERMO RIVERA FLÓREZ
Minister of interior

RE: Integral and Full Regulation of Law 70 of 1993

August 26, 2018 is the twenty-fifth anniversary of Law 70 of 1993, recognized as one of the most important laws related to the rights of the African Diaspora in the continent. In spite of this, we have waited throughout these twenty-five years for the integral and complete regulation of this law so that our people can fully exercise our legally recognized collective rights, historically denied to us.

In August 2013 during the First Autonomous National Congress of Black Peoples, you publicly committed to regulating Law 70 before December 2013. That never happened. The issue did not return to the government’s agenda until the 2016 Minga in Santander de Quilichao and the 2017 strikes in Chocó and Buenaventura, which forced the government to agree to regulate chapters IV, V, VI, VII, and VIII of Law 70. As a result, this government submitted a proposal for the integral and complete regulation of the law to the National Space for Prior Consultation (Espacio Nacional de Consulta Previa), which was created via mandate through the judicial decision, Sentence T 576/2014. However, in its consultation with the National Space for Prior Consultation, the government left out many issues as well as the majority of Afro-Colombians that live in urban and rural contexts under the premise that they do not correspond with collectively titled territories. Nobody knows for sure about the state of these consultation processes, and the current administration will leave in less than 100 days without resolving this issue, which was a commitment and a necessity for our people.

Moreover, we must alert you to one of the consequences of the lack of regulation: it was impossible for our peoples – as well as the Community Councils and organizations that they are a part of – to participate in the formulation of the National Development Plan for Black Communities included in Article 57 of Law 70 of 1993. According to Decree 3050/2002, the formation of the Investigative Commission (Comisión de Estudios), which is referred to in Article 57, is conditioned on the existence and functioning of the Sub-Commission on Development (Subcomisión de Desarrollo) of the High Level Consultative Commission (Comisión Consultiva de Alto Nivel). This already occurred with the National Development Plan 2014-2018, which included only two specific articles that in general have not been complied with. Even though this is a long discussion, we want to emphasize the difference between the prior consultation for the National Development Plan for the next government and the participatory mechanisms of the National Development Plan for Black Communities ordered by Law 70 of 1993.

The absence of an integral and fully regulated Law 70 of 1993, and the particular issue related to Article 57 of Law 70, constitutes an unacceptable situation given the absence of specific policies, indicators, and resources, which has resulted in the violation of our recognized rights, including the right to culturally specific development. This led to the mobilizations that then resulted in a commitment to the regulation of Law 70, putting it on the public agenda.

Considering the importance of the integral and complete regulation of Chapters IV, V, VI, VII, and VIII of Law 70 of 1993 towards addressing the racial inequalities experienced by millions of Afro-Colombians, we demand that you:

  • Adopt all of the urgent measures in order to ensure that your commitment to regulate Law 70 of 1993 integrally and completely becomes a reality before August 7, 2018.
  • Take urgent steps that enable the formulation of the National Plan for Black Communities ordered by Article 57 of 1993 and include specific policies for our peoples in the National Development Plan.

A crisis was created during your government for the entire system of participation for black communities, and it was your lack of resolve that impeded the full exercise of our rights. This month of May – Afro-Colombian Month, a month that commemorates the abolition of enslavement – offers you the opportunity to honor your word.

Sincerely,

Maria Angulo, former member of the Special Commission for Black Communities – AT55 C.P

Jorge Aramburo, former member of the Special Commission for Black Communities- AT55 C.P

Rudecindo Castro, former member of the Special Commission for Black Communities- AT55 C.P

Arnulfo Cuero, former member of the Special Commission for Black Communities- AT55 C.P

Silvio Garces, former member of the Special Commission for Black Communities- AT55 C.P

Francia Elena Márquez Mina, Goldman Environmental Prize Winner, 2018

Elver Montaño, former member of the Special Commission for Black Communities – AT55 C.P

Victor Hugo Moreno Mina, High Commissioner ACONC

Leyner Palacios A, Global Pluralism Award 2017

Jaime Perea, former member of the Special Commission for Black Communities – AT55 C.P

Moisés Pérez Casseres, Plaintiff for Sentence T-576/14 that created the ENCP

Carlos Rosero, former member of the Special Commission for Black Communities – AT55 C.P

Trifilo Anotnio Viveros Payán, former member of the Special Commission for Black Communities – AT55 C.P

CC:

FERNANDO CARRILLO FLÓREZ, Inspector General of the Nation (Procurador General de la Nación)

CARLOS ALFONSO NEGRET MOSQUERA, Human Rights Ombudsman of Colombia

ALBERTO BRUNORI, Colombia Representative of the High Commission of Human Rights, United Nations

TENDAYI ACHIUME, Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, United Nations

MARGARETTE MAY MACAULAY, Rapporteur on the Rights of Afro-descendants and Against Racial Discrimination, Organization of American States

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