Indigenity and the State: Comparative Critiques - The Principle of Political Unity and Cultural Minorities' Self-Government
59 Pages Posted: 1 Nov 2014 Last revised: 24 Nov 2014
Date Written: October 17, 2014
Within the 1991 Colombian Constitution there is a tension between cultural unity and cultural diversity. This tension is constituted by two analytically distinguishable but practically intertwined conflicts of principles and rights. The clash between the constitutional recognition of the indigenous groups' diverse moral and political principles (some of them illiberal) and the liberal Bill of Rights of the political charter comprises the first conflict. In this Article, I will analyze the second conflict of constitutional principles and rights, as well as the ways in which the Constitutional Court has attempted to solve it. To accomplish this aim, I will first analyze the values that structure the second facet of the constitutional tension. Then, I will critically analyze the Constitutional Court's jurisprudence on aboriginal groups' territorial autonomy. In these cases, the Court must balance the principle that Colombia is a unitary state against the self-government rights granted to cultural minorities. In the last section of this Article, I will offer some concluding remarks that will assess the contributions and obstacles that the Court's jurisprudence has created for the protection and strengthening of aboriginal authorities' self- government.
Keywords: Tension, political unity, Colombia's Constitutional Court, Multicultural society, Aboriginal communities
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