The First Commission of the Senate last week approved the first steps in a measure to criminalize acts of racial discrimination in Colombia, reports La Patria.
The law would make discrimination against ethnic minorities punishable with up to six months in jail or a fine of $4,000. The proposal is supported by the Independent Absolute Reform Movement (MIRA) and was proposed by the party’s leader Carlos Alberto Baena. Baena said one of the main reasons for the law is that minority populations have the highest rate of unmet needs and the highest rate of poverty.
The Process of Black Communities (PCN), a network of Afro-Colombian organizations, does not support the prospect of jail sentences and fines in response to racial discrimination.
“It’s a question of mentality, not laws,” said PCN member Jose Santos Caicedo.
Of Colombia’s 45 million inhabitants, 58% are mestizo, 20% white, 14% mulatto, 4% black, 3% mixed black-amer-Indian, and 1% Amer-Indian.