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date: 06 May 2021

The Path to Black Citizenship in Peru: Ethno-Racial Legislation and the Political Recognition of Afro-Descendants in the Countrylocked

  • Mariela I. Noles CotitoMariela I. Noles CotitoCentro de Investigación, Universidad del Pacifíco


The formulation of legislation aimed at promoting and protecting the rights of racial and ethnic minorities in Latin America is a phenomenon that only became prevalent in the late 20th century. In fact, it was not until the end of the 1980s that a number of countries in the region began the process of constructing Black citizenship and providing Black people citizenship rights. During this period, deemed “multicultural constitutionalism,” some Latin American countries began to identify as multicultural states and/or included Black and Afro-descendant populations in their constitutional texts. The second stage of this process continued between 1990 and 2000, wherein some countries adopted a number of policies to address and eradicate racial inequality. Through these political choices, the adopting countries moved away from a structure of color-blind legalism and toward the official recognition of Indigenous and Black peoples’ collective rights.

In Peru, although the political constitution was not amended, a robust body of ethno-racial legislation was introduced after the year 2000, demarking a structural shift in the country’s racial politics. This normative integration included the development of a number of national institutions and the promulgation of political measures promoting the advancement of Afro-descendants and other ethnic minorities. This integration process also led to the revision of existing legislation on racism and racial discrimination. By enacting this process, Peru committed to developing a process that would recognize Black citizenship in the country—one that began with the recognition of the political subjectivity of Black Peruvians and the creation of institutions for their social and political advancement.

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