Colombia passes law to criminalize racism, discrimination

Colombia passed a law to criminalize racial and other types of discrimination with penalties of one to three years in prison and fines of up to $4,500 for those found guilty, Colombian media reported Tuesday.

The law has made it a criminal offence to discriminate against any person on the grounds of their race, ethnicity, religion, nationality, philosophical and political ideology, gender or sexual orientation.

Colombia initiated to process to criminalize racism in November 2010, and was called on by the United Nations in March 2011 to outlaw racial discrimination. Christian Salazar, Colombia representative for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said at the time “Unfortunately racial discrimination is a reality in Colombia.”

In April a Colombian newspaper revealed that racism is rife in the country’s capital with Afro-Colombians being blatantly rejected as potential housing tenants.

The law will still need to be signed of by the president and the constitutional court but it is now through congress.

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