DECISION T-312/16. Privation of liberty to indigenous people by detention in prison facilities


In this case, the plaintiff, an indigenous citizen condemn by the Special Indigenous Jurisdiction (“Jurisdicción Especial Indígena”) serving time in a Penitentiary Establishment of the State, interposes “acción de tutela” against the High and Medium Security Complex of San Isidro, Popayan, the Ombudsman Office, the Attorney General's Office and the Regional Indigenous Council of Cauca, for considering violated his fundamental rights to a dignified life, ethnic diversity and petition. He argues that by being confined in a pavilion that doesn’t respond to the line guides of differentiated approach for indigenous people, he is impeded to practice his costumes, he doesn’t has access to the typical food of his community and also he it is prohibited the entrance to the traditional doctors that maintain his health.


The Court analyzed: (i) the precedency of the “accion de tutela”, (ii) the jurisprudential position that exists regarding the “derecho de petición” of the citizens deprived of liberty, and (iii) the position of this Tribunal regarding the differentiated reclusion for ethnic, culturally differentiated and indigenous peoples.


As a result, the Court declared the lack of object (“carencia actual de objeto”) of the action regarding the “derecho de petición” given that the defendant answered the request. This Court also remarked that the Director of the INPEC (National Incarceration and Penitentiary Institute) has to forward all actions to guarantee the fulfillment of the mandate contained in the 7th numeral of the operative part of the ruling T-208/15, related to the cooperation agreements with the indigenous authorities regarding the indigenous peoples confined in the jails of the State.