South America

Sentence SU698/17 (Arroyo Bruno case), Constitutional Court of Colombia

Representatives of Wayuu indigenous communities presented constitutional claims against government authorities and a mining company (Cerrejón) for threatening their fundamental rights to water, food, and health by diverting a 3-kilometer section of a stream (Arroyo Bruno) in order to expand coal-mining operations in an arid region of the Department of La Guajira in Colombia.  The Court suspended activities related to the stream-diversion project until the several orders are complied with by a judicially created Inter-Institutional Workgroup, explaining that, although the initial coal-mining

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Sentence C-035/16 of the Constitutional Court of Colombia (Alberto Castilla et al v. Colombia) (8 February 2016)

*SPANISH BELOW*

Sentence C-035/16 of the Constitutional Court of Colombia (Alberto Castilla et al v. Colombia):

Citizens presented constitutional claims against several provisions of the laws that approved the 2010-2014 National Development Plan (Law 1450 of 2011) and the 2014-2018 National Development Plan (Law 1753 of 2015).  

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Victory for Environmental Defenders and Democracy in Latin America

3/12/18
ELAW Bulletin

After a 6-year negotiation process, 24 Latin American and Caribbean countries have adopted a regional agreement to ensure access to information, participation, and justice in environmental matters. Upon entering into force, the agreement will include the first ever legally binding provisions to protect environmental defenders from threats and attacks.

Advisory Opinion (OC-23/17) - Inter-American Court of Human Rights

On 7 February 2018, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACtHR or Court) published an Advisory Opinion and explained that “[t]his Opinion constitutes one of the first opportunities this Court has had to address, in an extended manner, the state obligations that arise from the need to protect the environment under the American Convention[.]”

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Rol No. 55.203-2016 (Mina Invierno case), Supreme Court of Chile (2017)

A mining company (Mina Invierno) proposed a project to incorporate blasting methods at an existing permitted open pit coal mine in southern Chile.  Citizens and civil society organizations properly presented petitions for the provision of citizen participation procedures during the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process required for this proposed complementary project, but those petitions were denied.  The denial of those petitions was unsuccessfully appealed at the administrative level and the proposed project to incorporate blasting was approved, so a constitutional lawsuit (re

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