Anniversary of Law #70 -- Celebrating 16 Years
On August 27, 1993, Colombia passed Law # 70, also known as the “Law of the Black Communities”. This law stands as one of the greatest achievements of the Afro-Colombian civil rights movement.
Historically Afro-Colombians have suffered exclusion in Colombian social, cultural and political life. With the passing of Law # 70, the Colombian government must now guarantee protection for the ancestral territories of the Afro-descendants. They must also invest in the economic development of these areas, as well as protect their cultural identity and civil rights.
Under Law #70, Afro-Colombians now have a legal tool to fight against the exclusion, discrimination, poverty, forced displacement and expropriation of their collective territories that have been the hallmark of treatment towards them.
According to the law, Community Councils are now recognized as the ultimate authority in the internal administration of the collective territories. The Community Councils oversee the conservancy and protection of the collective property and environment and the protection of their cultural rights. In the past, Community Councils faced constant threats, harassment and assassination. "Many leaders and members of the Community Councils, have lost their lives while protecting the land and environment inherited from their ancestors."
While May 21st is celebrated as the day of slave emancipation in Colombia, it is important to the modern history of the resistance and the peaceful contributions of Afro-Colombians to the building of a democratic and prosperous society. This includes the mention and honoring of those who through peaceful , grassroots means have worked within the legislative process protect and expand the rights of Afro-Colombians.
If the topic of Afro-Colombians interests you, "you can make difference by staying informed and taking action. Question US policies related to Afro-Colombian and Indigenous development and ancestral territories. Ask your legislator to not support any policy toward Colombia before ensuring that the Afro-Colombian and Indigenous rights are not violated or affected." You can also Inform others about the Afro-Colombians."