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Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes


Constitution Year 1991
Last Amended 2009
Source Political Database of the Americas
Translation Source is an English translation
Current as of May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2


The people of Colombia, exercising its sovereign power, represented by its delegates at the National Constituent Assembly, invoking the protection of God, and in order to strengthen the unity of the nation and ensure the life, peaceful coexistence, labor, justice, equality, knowledge, freedom and peace of its members within a legal, democratic, and participatory framework to guarantee a just political, economic and social order, and pledged to promote the integration of the Latin American community, decrees, approves and promulgates the following:

Article 2

The essential goals of the state are to serve the community, promote general prosperity and guarantee the effectiveness of the principles, rights, and duties enshrined in the Constitution, to facilitate the participation of everyone in the decisions that affect them and in the economic, political, administrative and cultural life of the nation, to defend the independence of the nation, to maintain territorial integrity and to ensure peaceful coexistence and the enforcement of a just order.
The authorities of the Republic are established to protect all persons residing in Colombia, in their life, dignity, property, beliefs, and other rights and freedoms, and to ensure compliance with the social obligations of the state and individuals.

Article 13

All individuals are born free and equal before the law, receive the same protection and treatment by the authorities and enjoy the same rights, freedoms and opportunities without discrimination based on sex, race, national or family origin, language, religion, or political or philosophical opinion.

Article 18

Freedom of conscience is guaranteed. No one will be persecuted due to their convictions or beliefs or be compelled to reveal them or be obliged to act against their conscience.

Article 19

Freedom of religion is guaranteed. Everyone has the right to profess their religion freely and to disseminate it individually or collectively.
All religious faiths and churches are equally free before the law.

Article 42

Religious marriages will have civil effects within the limits established by law. The civil effects of all marriages terminate with divorce in accordance with civil law.
Also, decrees of annulment of religious marriages issued by the authorities of the respective faiths have civil effects in the terms established by the law..

Article 68

…Parents have the right to choose the type of education for their minor children to receive. In state institutions, no person shall be compelled to receive religious instruction.

Article 192

The President of the Republic will take office before Congress and is sworn in in the following terms: "I swear to God and promise to the people to faithfully execute the Constitution and the laws of Colombia."
If for any reason the President is unable to take office before Congress, they will do so before the Supreme Court of Justice or, failing that, before two witnesses.

[Note: The constitutional text hosted by the Political Database of the Americas is reproduced from official government sources.]


1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

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