To mark Afro-Colombian Day President Juan Manuel Santos on Saturday announced his government will present a bill for equal treatment for the Afro-descended peoples of Colombia.
The head of state said the Law of Equal Opportunities for Afro-Colombian Peoples will be presented to Congress on July 20, Colombia’s Independence Day and the official start of a new parliamentary year.
The initiative “is now in the consultation process” said Santos, who also said “We want Colombia to be a country free of any kind of discrimination and we want to guarantee equal treatment for Afro-Colombians and for all communities.”
Santos recognized that black people are affected by high levels of poverty, lack of opportunities, illiteracy, displacement, among other problems admitted that “the country owes a debt to its Afro-descendents people.”
Santos also stated that he created the Presidential Program for the Integral Development of Black Communities to try to find structural solutions to the problems that affect them.
Santos admitted that “In these four years [of government 2010-2014] we are going to make every effort to generate change. Moves to establish a law to criminalize racism were made in November 2010 by the First Commission of the Senate.
Afro-Colombian Day was established in 2001 to commemorate the day that slavery in Colombia was nominally abolished.