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First successful Rights of Nature case in Ecuador

by Natalia Greene

The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, the Ecuadorian Coordinator of Organizations for the Defense of Nature and the Environment (CEDENMA) and Fundación Pachamama praise the first successful case of the rights of nature in Ecuador and congratulate Richard Frederick Wheeler and Eleanor Geer Huddle, the two people who demanded the observance of the rights of nature, protected in Article 71 of the Ecuadorian Constitution. The case was presented before the Provincial Court of Justice of Loja on March 30, 2011 with granting an injunction in favor of nature, specifically the Vilcabamba River, against the Provincial Government of Loja.

The case was based on the problem caused by the project to widen the Vilcabamba-Quinara road, which was depositing large quantities of rock and excavation material into the Vilcabamba River. This project, which had been underway for three years without studies on its environmental impact, directly violated the Rights of Nature by increasing the river flow and provoking a risk of disasters from the growth of the river with the winter rains, causing large floods that affected the riverside populations who utilize the river’s resources.

The Provincial Court of Loja ruled in favor of nature, particularly the Vilcabamba River, in the Granted Constitutional Injunction 11121-2011-0010.

The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, the Ecuadorian Coordinator of Organizations for the Defense of Nature and the Environment (CEDENMA) and Fundación Pachamama congratulate the signatories of the first favorable ruling in the name of nature in Ecuador and the world: Dr. Luis Sempértegui Valdivieso, Provincial Judge; Dr. Galo Arrobo Rodas, Interim Provincial Judge; and Dr. Galo Celi Astudillo, Associate Judge; as well as the Secretary of the Criminal Division of Loja, Dr. Dirce Guzmán Ordoñez.

We especially congratulate the management, work, and investigation of lawyer Carlos Eduardo Bravo González who legally advised the plaintiffs and brought the case before the Court.

Of course we also praise and applaud the work of Richard Frederick Wheeler and Eleanor Geer Huddle. They, through their work and by investing their time and resources, effectively achieved the tutelage of the Vilcabamba River, defending its rights and successfully promoting the first case of the implementation of the rights of nature in Ecuador and the world. We urge the rest of citizens and organizations to follow this good example of the defense of the Pachamama.

For more information visit The First Rights of Nature Case in Ecuador.