The government will issue the Black Line decree

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Alejandra Parra
Bogotá D.C.
02 Aug 2018

The Minister of the Interior, Guillermo Rivera, explained that the decree "redefines the sites considered ancestral of the Arhuaco, Kogui, Wiwa and Kankuamo peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, expressed in the system of sacred spaces of the ' Línea Negra ', is issued in compliance with several provisions of the Constitutional Court and will not affect the rights acquired from third parties, nor private property”.


What does the decree contain?

  • The redefinition of sites considered sacred does not imply an increase or addition of territory to indigenous communities.
  •  The redefinition of sites considered sacred maintains the same limits already defined in resolutions 02 of 1973 and 837 of 1995, the only novel thing is that it specifies the "reference milestones" and the scope thereof, precisely as a guarantee of security legal
  • The decree will be issued in compliance with orders of the Constitutional Court given in several of its decisions, for example, sentences T-547 of 2010 and Auto 189 of 2013, and does not order anything more than what was previously ordered by the Court, precisely because of legal security, the most convenient thing is to redefine the "reference milestones", as well as their content and legal scope.
  • The decree does not affect the acquired rights of third parties or private property.
  • It provides for the obligation for the owners of the lands where the ancestral sites are located, to conserve and protect them, as a guarantee of the ecological principle of private property that is enshrined in Article 58 of the Political Constitution.
  • The concepts "Mother Document" and "Law of Origin" refer to the own rules and procedures of the authorities of the indigenous peoples, which are only applicable to them and do not conflict with the norms and procedures of the rest of the population.
  •  As a guarantee of legal security, the decree creates an instance of monitoring and protection of the Black Line, made up of governors (Cesar, Guajira and Magdalena), Regional Autonomous Corporations, National Government and indigenous communities. Likewise, the Public Ministry participates as guarantor.

What does the decree not contain?

  • It does not contain regulations on prior consultation, and this will not be necessary when infrastructure or housing projects are to be developed.
  • The decree does not contain norms that grant environmental, territorial or urban planning post-states to the traditional indigenous authorities, these matters will continue to be governed by the rules applicable to all persons subject to the jurisdiction of the Colombian State.
  •  Does not affect private property, the rights of third parties,  the rights previously acquired.
  • Faced with previous proposals from indigenous peoples, the draft decree does not accede to most of its claims, because it does not confer powers or powers as any authority, only recognizes the indigenous peoples of the four peoples (Arhuaco-Kogui-Kankwamo -Wiwa) the right of access to the premises where the sacred sites are to make their payments, as a "magic-religious" practice.
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