Case Comment: Do Indigenous Peoples Have a Right to Limit Religious Proselytism Activities in Their Territories?

A Response from the Case Law of the Colombian Constitutional Court

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State
Trilce Gabriela Valdivia AguilarUniversidad Católica San Pablo, Arequipa, Perú,

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In ruling T-1022/01, the Colombian Constitutional Court responded to a claim brought by a member of the United Pentecostal Church of Colombia against the Yanacona Indigenous Council. The claimants alleged the violation of their rights to freedom of conscience, worship, and dissemination of thought based on two facts: (a) the refusal of their petition to carry out a “Spiritual Renewal Day” in the main square of the indigenous reservation of Caquiona, and (b) the interruption of the religious gatherings of the United Pentecostal Church of Colombia, as well as the prohibition of their pastors entering the indigenous reservation territory. The Court found no violation of the rights alleged. The purpose of this comment is to explore the understanding by the Colombian Constitutional Court of the right to cultural identity of indigenous communities, focusing particularly on whether it encompasses the right to be free from religious proselytism.

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