Citizens for Justice and Peace

Colombia supreme court directs government to protect Amazon rainforest in historic case

11, Apr 2018 | CJP Team

Colombia’s apex court has informed the country’s government that it must take immediate steps to protect the Amazon rainforest and check increasing deforestation, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reported. In January, 25 young plaintiffs aged seven to 26 sued Colombia’s government, saying that its inaction in protecting the Amazon imperilled their future and infringed on their constitutional rights to water, food, life and a healthy environment. Colombian rights organisation Dejusticia said that this was the first such lawsuit with a favourable outcome in Latin America. The supreme court has directed the local and national governments, the agriculture and environmental ministries, as well as environmental officials to formulate action plans within four months to fight deforestation in the Amazon. The judges noted in their ruling that deforestation rates in Colombia’s Amazon region jumped 44% from 2015 to 2016. Colombia’s rainforest region is around the size of England and Germany combined. The ruling said deforestation was occurring to create more land for agriculture and cattle-grazing, to grow coca (the raw material for cocaine), and for unlawful mining and logging. Significantly, the supreme court recognised the Amazon in Colombia as an “entity subject of rights,” affording it the same legal rights as a human being. 



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