Linea Negra Decreto 1500

After years of consultation by the four Indigenous Peoples of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta: Kogui, Arhuaco, Kankuamo and Wiwa with the Colombian State, in 2018 a Presidential Decree 1500 was issued recognising the Linea Negra. Decree 1500 redefines the ancestral territory of these four Indigenous Peoples, recognising the interconnected sacred spaces along the Linea Negra, as ancestral territory that has to be protected due to its spiritual, cultural and environmental importance as presented in the Law of Origin (Ley de Origin), its foundations and principles. As well as the additional features dictated in Lay 21 of 1991 and other relevant legislation.

Nevertheless just a few days after the passing of this Decree someone lodged a law suit before the Superior Administrative Court of Colombia (Consejo de Estado) requesting that Decree 1500 be nullified, this contained a cautionary measure (medida cautelar) that suspended the judicial effects of Decree 1500. July 2020, ABColombia submitted an Amicus Brief outlining how International law and norms supports Decree 1500.

Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is an area rich in endemic species with over 700 bird species and 3,000 plant species and one of the highest concentrations of mamals.

It is rich in biodiversity and water sources and also holds a wealth of mineral resources. ‘The sacred land, the heart of the earth’ is threatened by at least 132 mining concessions and 263 in the application in process according to the Amicus Curiae presented by El Centro de Estudios para la Justicia Social ‘Tierra Digna, in May 2009 to the Constitutional Court.

Tierra Digna said in this Amicus Curiae that the mining applications and concessions inside the Linea Negra constituted a violation of the fundamental rights of the four Indigenous Peoples of the Sierra Nevada. That they gravely threatened their cultural survival, because the sacred spirituality of the four Peoples is the backbone of their identity and self-determination.

Credit: Wiwa Indigenous Peoples

It is essential to protect the biodiversity, the water sources and the sacredness of the Heart of the Earth, Sierra Nevada, the Linea Negra as elaborated in Decree 1500.

Write to your MP asking what the UK is doing to ensure that the UNESCO Biosphere Sierra Nevada (recognised as such in 1979) and the Four Indigenous Tribes receive political support and funding from the UK Climate Change Fund to protect this important territory for the Indigenous tribes and humanity. See our “get involved” campaigns page for suggested text.