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Colombia's Top Court Orders Government to Protect Amazon Forest in Landmark Case

How about some good news for nature?

Colombia’s top court sided with a group of young adults and children who are suing the government for failing to properly protect the Amazon rainforest.

Thanks to the 3-4 ruling, the country’s president and local municipalities must create legislation that will put a stop to deforestation within the next five months.

Definitely worth protecting

In the ruling, the judges said that Colombia - which is home to a swathe of rainforest roughly the size of Germany and England combined - saw deforestation rates in its Amazon region increase by 44 percent from 2015 to 2016.

The court case was facilitated with the help of Dejusticia, a Bogota-based human rights organization. The youth and the nonprofit were able to convince the South American Supreme Court that the Amazon rainforest was essential to their constitutional rights to life, health, food, water, and a safe environment.

Additionally, the activists argued that since deforestation is the country’s largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, the government’s failure to protect the Amazon was directly violating the rights of future generations as well.

Save the trees

The Court sided with the plaintiffs and even emphasized that the Colombian government had been avoiding the issue for long enough.

“It is clear, despite numerous international commitments, regulations, and jurisprudence on the matter, that the Colombian State has not efficiently tackled the problem of deforestation in the Amazon,” the Court said, according to Dejusticia.

Camila Bustos, a researcher with Dejusticia, said: “We were thrilled with the result. The ruling was beautifully written, and it’s refreshing and novel on the importance of nature, not only for humans but also its intrinsic value. And it recognizes the rights of the future generations.”


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