Constitutionalization of Rights in Colombia: Establishing a Ground for Meaningful Comparisons
Revista Derecho del Estado, Vol. 22, pp. 183-229, 2009
48 Pages Posted: 21 Dec 2009 Last revised: 21 Apr 2010
Date Written: December 16, 2009
Considered out of context, the 1991 Colombian Constitution might be read as an extension of a trend in constitutional reform that has swept the world since the early 1970s, renewing state commitments to the Social Rule of Law model and human rights. Accordingly, the Colombian constitutional reform could be described as a copy-cat reform, whose failure resides in the internal ambivalences of the Social Rule of Law model and human rights discourse, and is starkly revealed in the social, political and economic reality of Colombian citizens. This paper problematizes this position: instead, the paper argues that the Colombian constitutional text should be read and evaluated on the basis of its particularities. The paper outlines reasons for studying the Colombian Constitution as a socio-juridical phenomenon, situating the constitutional text beyond its normative nature and the interpretative boundaries of the law. By adopting this approach, the paper concludes that the socialization of the nation-building project in Colombia has been an impressive achievement of the 1991 political and legal constitutional experiment, but that distinctive failures of Colombia’s constitutional reform can also be identified in this process.
Keywords: Colombia, Human Rights, 1991, Constitutionalization, Law and Society, Comparative Law, Constitutional Court, Tutela
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