Last Updated: Monday, 30 May 2016, 14:07 GMT

Chronology for Blacks in Colombia

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Blacks in Colombia, 2004, available at: [accessed 31 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
1989 OREWA (the Regional Organization of Emberas and Waunanas) organized the First Meeting for the Unity and Defence of Indigenous and Black Communities. This meeting formed the joint organization, ACADESAN, the Peasant Association of San Juan River, for the purpose of protesting the development of the Pacific region.
Jul 1990 The First Meeting of Black Communities was held to organize and mobilize blacks to lobby for reforms in the new constitution. Black candidates also ran for election for the Constituent Assembly. One candidate was from the Liberal Party, one represented Cimarron, and one represented the guerrilla group, FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia). None of these delegates were elected.
Dec 1990 The black group Cimarron lobbied the National Constituent Assembly for reforms in the new constitution for blacks.
Jul 1991 The organization and mobilization of blacks increased due to the Transitory Law, which had to be passed by 1993. Cimarron and church groups formed the Organization of Black Communities. This organization facilitated the coordination of local groups and programs to publicize the Article.
Jul 5, 1991 The new constitution was ratified by the Constituent Assembly. Transitory Article 55 was passed, but had to be implemented through the passage of a law which was subject to study by a government commission. This law would recognize the "collective property rights for black communities which have been occupying tierras baldias (public or state lands) in the rural riverine zones of the rivers of the Pacific Basin." The law also established "mechanisms for the protection of the cultural identity and rights of these communities, and for the promotion of their economic and social development." The law could also apply to other black regions of the country that met similar requirements.
Apr 1, 1992 The government formed a special commission to review Article 55.
Oct 18, 1992 500 people were left homeless and 20 injured due to an earthquake which hit one of the poorest regions of Colombia in the northwest, near Antioquia - inhabited by indigenous and black populations.
Nov 1992 Black organization delegates signed a petition to refuse to assist in the commission until the government fulfills its obligations to the black members. Negotiations were held between the government and black members to resume the study of the Article.
Aug 27, 1993 The President ratified Law 70. This law recognizes black communities as an ethnic group and defines the titling of collective land rights to whole black communities on the rivers of the Pacific region. The law gives land rights to communities, but excludes community control over natural resources, subsoils, National Park areas, zones of military importance, and urban areas. It also contains articles to improve education, training, and access to credit for blacks. Black representatives were appointed to the National Planning Council, regional planning boards, and a Consultative Commission to inform the government of the implementation of the law. Discrimination was outlawed against blacks and education must include cultural diversity. Two representative were also appointed positions in the National Constituent Assembly.
Dec 1993 The government initiated policies to employ black police officers in black community areas, such as the Choco, through scholarship and training programs.
Jan 1994 In the western town of Las Chinitas (inhabited by indigenous and black people) guerrilla groups attacked and killed 38 people in the streets.
1994 One black congresswoman and one congressman were elected to the National Constituent Assembly.
Apr 10, 1994 Blacks protested outside the Colombian Institute of Anthropology to develop research programs for the study of black populations in addition to indigenous populations. The new Law 70 states that research on black populations must be conducted.
Aug 1994 A government sponsored policy, called BioPacific, was formulated to improve the land rights and living situations of Afro-Colombians. The policy is aimed at preserving areas of land for black communities and for environmental protection.
May 13, 1995 OREWA lobbied the government and held a demonstration against the development of forest lands upon which black-Colombians live. OREWA, which represents blacks and indigenous people, has also lobbied to include blacks in the demarcation of lands in the forest area of the Choco.
May 15, 1995 Senator Piedad Corboda de Castro, a black female senator from Colombia, visited the U.S. to build ties between the black communities of both countries. She told the human rights conference members that black-Colombians were still marginalized in society. Aside from the human rights conference which she attended, she met with diplomats, international financial institutions, and African-American organizations.

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