Key law annulled by top judges

April 15, 2009

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A law violating Indigenous peoples' rights has been annulled by Colombia’s Constitutional Court.

The law was passed by the Colombian government in 2007, but attracted fierce criticism from Indigenous peoples because they were not consulted about it and because of the threat it posed to their territories.

‘There is no evidence whatsoever that proper consultative procedures, including consultations with the traditional (Indigenous) authorities, were followed,’ the Court ruled.

The Court also ruled that the main thrust of the law, called the Rural Development Statute, would directly affect Indigenous peoples’ land. Among other things, it prohibited the creation of new Indigenous reserves in certain parts of the country and did not give nomadic or semi-nomadic groups ownership rights of their land until they settled permanently in one place.