Young Colombians win historic conservation ruling


Some of the plaintiffs in the landmark Colombian forest-protection case. (Photo by César Andrés Rodríguez)

Can a biome, such as the Amazon, possess its own legal rights? That was the question Colombia’s Supreme Court faced after 25 young people, aged 7 to 26, sued the government in January of this year. The plaintiffs alleged authorities had neglected to combat deforestation and climate change in Colombia’s portion of the Amazon region—a failure, they argued, that threatens their constitutional right to a healthy environment.  The high court decision, issued April 5 and still reverberating in Colombian government and international legal circles, affirmed that the Amazon is “an entity, subject of rights” and must be the “beneficiary of protection.” To comply, the government must draft a plan within five months to halt deforestation in the Colombian Amazon. It also must forge... [Log in to read more]

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