Colombian citizen and ADF International challenge constitutionality of “Anti-Discrimination Law”
What’s at Stake:
The right to freedom of religion, freedom of conscience and freedom of expression
In 2011, Colombia passed Law 1482, also known as the “Anti-Discrimination Law”. This law made any behaviour that could be interpreted as discrimination – against certain characteristics – a criminal offence. Articles 3 and 4 of the law listed these protected characteristics as: race, nationality, sex, sexual orientation, religion, political ideology, or ethnic and cultural origin. Any “discrimination” on the basis of any of these would be punishable by up to 36 weeks in prison or other sanctions.
One notable omission from the list is that of disability, therefore leaving people with disabilities unprotected. This did not go unnoticed, and in February 2014, Carlos Parra Dussan presented a strong constitutional challenge against Articles 3 and 4 on this basis.
However, the main problem with Colombia’s “Anti-Discrimination Law” is that it’s drafted in such a way that it violates fundamental freedoms in general, even after people with disabilities are included in the law. So, although Dussan’s challenge focused on the omission of disability from the list of protected characteristics, his case provided an opportunity to highlight this even greater concern.
To show how the law has already impacted religious freedom, freedom of conscience and freedom of expression, ADF International filed a legal brief in the case. It was presented before the Constitutional Court in July 2014 and argued that the whole law, not only the omission of persons with disabilities, is unconstitutional.
Our Role in the Case
ADF International drafted a legal brief that was presented before the Constitutional Court on 31 July, 2014. It argued that the whole law, not only the omission of persons with disabilities, is unconstitutional.