Colombia 1991 Constitution (reviewed 2015)

Table of Contents


The people of Colombia,

In the exercise of their sovereign power, represented by their delegates to the National Constituent Assembly, invoking the protection of God, and in order to strengthen the unity of the nation and ensure to its members life, peaceful coexistence, work, justice, equality, understanding, freedom, and peace within a legal, democratic, and participatory framework that may guarantee a just political, economic, and social order and committed to promote the integration of the Latin American community, decree, authorize, and promulgate the following:

TITLE I. On Fundamental Principles

Article 1

Colombia is a social state under the rule of law, organized in the form of a unitary republic, decentralized, with autonomy of its territorial units, democratic, participatory, and pluralistic, based on the respect of human dignity, the work and solidarity of the individuals who belong to it, and the prevalence of the general interest.

Article 2

The essential goals of the State are to serve the community, promote the general prosperity, and guarantee the effectiveness of the principles, rights, and duties stipulated by the Constitution; to facilitate participation by everyone in the decisions that affect them and in the economic, political, administrative, and cultural life of the nation; to defend national independence, maintain territorial integrity, and ensure peaceful coexistence and enforcement of a just order.

The authorities of the Republic are established in order to protect all individuals residing in Colombia, in their life, honor, property, beliefs, and other rights and freedoms, and in order to ensure the fulfillment of the social duties of the State and individuals.

Article 3

Sovereignty resides exclusively in the people from whom public power emanates. The people exercise it in direct form or through their representatives, within the limits established by the Constitution.

Article 4

The Constitution provides the norm of regulations. In all cases of incompatibility between the Constitution and the statute or other legal regulations, the constitutional provisions shall apply.

It is the duty of citizens and of aliens in Colombia to obey the Constitution and the laws, and to respect and obey the authorities.

Article 5

The State recognizes, without any discrimination whatsoever, the primacy of the inalienable rights of the individual and protects the family as the basic institution of society.

Article 6

Individuals are solely responsible before the authorities for violations of the Constitution and the laws. Public servants are responsible for the same violations and the omissions or ultra vires acts committed in the exercise of their functions.

Article 7

The State recognizes and protects the ethnic and cultural diversity of the Colombian Nation.

Article 8

It is the obligation of the State and of individuals to protect the cultural and natural assets of the nation.

Article 9

The external relations of the state are based on national sovereignty, on respect for the self-determination of peoples, and on the recognition of the principles of international law approved by Colombia.

In the same manner, the foreign policy of Colombia shall be oriented toward the integration of Latin America and the Caribbean.

Article 10

Spanish is the official language of Colombia. The languages and dialects of ethnic groups are also official in their territories. The education provided in communities with their own linguistic traditions shall be bilingual.