The Colombian Constitution of 1991 sets up an extensive set of indigenous rights, in order to protect the cultural autonomy of groups that have historically been repressed throughout most of Latin America. This chapter reviews the case law of the Colombian Constitutional Court on that topic. It considers the interpretation of provisions giving indigenous communities autonomy in their justice system and other internal affairs. Applying these provisions, the Court has allowed non-traditional punishments such as whipping, so long as they did not fall afoul of fundamental precepts of international or constitutional law. This chapter also includes a review of the Court’s extensive jurisprudence on the right of indigenous communities to prior consultation before economic or governmental projects are undertaken on their lands.
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