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Colombia: President Promulgates Reform of Youth Citizenship Statute

(June 13, 2018) On March 1, 2018, President Juan Manuel Santos promulgated Law 1885 of 2018 on Reforming the Statute on Youth Citizenship (Law 1622 of 2013). The new Law creates a political electoral system allowing youth between fourteen and twenty-eight years old to elect members of and be elected to municipal youth councils. Under the new Law, Council members have the right to express their opinions and vote in local, departmental, and national elections every four years. (Presidente Santos sancionó la Ley 1885 de 2018 que modifica el Estatuto de Ciudadanía Juvenil, COLOMBIA JOVEN (Mar. 2, 2018); Ley 1885 de Por el Cual se Modifica la Ley Estatutaria 1622 de 2013 y Se Dictan Otras Disposiciones, Mar. 1, 2018, Presidency of the Republic website.)

President Santos said the new measure would strengthen the capacity of youth to pursue a better future. (Presidente Santos sancionó la Ley 1885 de 2018 que modifica el Estatuto de Ciudadanía Juvenil, supra.)

According to its sponsor, Senator Santos Calderón, the new Law gives youth new political responsibilities and provides them with the incentive to become politically engaged. (Id.)

The Law includes a special chapter on young victims (víctimas) who would be guaranteed special representation on the youth councils. (Id.)

It also allows youth to participate in the decision-making process related to the use of public funds. (Id.)

The Law tasks municipal council members together with national and local government authorities with defining how economic resources are to be allocated and establishing policies, programs, and projects that will benefit the Colombian people. (Id.)

Agreements reached between the government and the youth councils, through coordination commissions, will be binding. (Id.)