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25 children and adolescents defend the Amazonian forest

A major decision for the rights of nature was taken. On 5 April, the Supreme Court of Columbia deliberated in favour of a group of 25 children and adolescents. Supported by the association Dejusticia, they took out a lawsuit against the Columbian government, accusing it of failing to protect their rights to life and a healthy environment.

The Supreme Court of Columbia acknowledged the Amazonian forest as a “legal entity” in order to protect this vital ecosystem, as did the Constitutional Court with the River Atrato the previous year. The Columbian government is therefore obliged to protect, conserve, maintain and restore the forest.

The Court gave the government four months to present an action plan to reduce deforestation in the Amazon region, the country’s main source of greenhouse gas emissions at the root of climate change. In spite of Columbia’s international commitments to reduce the destruction of forests, the most recent statistics showed a 44% increase in deforestation between 2015 and 2016. The Columbian government is obliged to draw up an intergenerational plan, in cooperation with the populations affected and environmental organisations, for the future of the Columbian part of the Amazon region.

This decision is part of an underlying movement: in 2017, India and New Zealand granted certain of their rivers, some of them sacred, the legal status of “living entities”. Thus they bestowed the right of repair in the case of voluntary damage and the right of legal representation in courts of law.

 

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