Controversial Citizen Security Law enters into force in Colombia

On January 25, Colombian President Ivan Duque passed the Citizen Security Law, a regulation that was presented after the protests of 2021 and which he considers a triumph of legality despite having been a source of controversy, since it opens the door to the use of weapons in self-defence.

One of the main criticisms that the law receives is that it opens the possibility to the use of weapons as long as it is in self-defence against an unjust aggression, without any subsequent criminal responsibility.

As explained by the website, in an act that took place in the Casa de Nariño and in which different representatives of the Administration were present, the president passed three emblematic laws: a new disciplinary statute for the National Police, the Transformation and Professionalisation of the National Police and a National Security Law. The Colombian government considers that these three regulations contribute principles such as human rights, protecting life and defending citizens’ property.

Specifically, they consider that the Citizen Security Law gives peace of mind to the people, especially the peasantry and the business community, as it will prevent anyone from forcibly taking away their property, which can only be claimed by a competent authority. Likewise, the President believes that this is a new and necessary regulation that closes the gaps in criminality.

Ministers such as those of the Interior – Daniel Palacios – or of Justice – Wilson Ruiz – consider that the laws are desired and expected, guaranteeing rights and freedoms, and aimed at fighting crime and protecting citizens.

From now on, soldiers and policemen, according to the Government, will have a law that represents them and with a disciplinary regime that allows them to be protected, but requires them to act with excellence.

The Citizen Security Law is described by the opposition as an initiative that criminalises protest. In fact, this law was presented after the demonstrations that took place in Colombia in 2021, which began because of a tax reform proposal and lasted about two months, during which there were reports of serious human rights violations, especially abuse of police force, episodes of vandalism and armed civilians shooting at demonstrators.

One of the main criticisms of the law is that it provides for privileged self-defence when the victim defends himself or herself against whoever illegally enters their home or vehicle.

It also amends the Penal Code to increase the penalties for those who commit crimes against members of the security forces or human rights defenders, while the penalties for those who interfere with infrastructures intended for citizen security, mass transportation or military or police facilities will be from 48 to 144 months.


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