BOGOTA (Thomson Reuters Foundation) Colombias highest court has
told the government it must take urgent action to protect its
Amazon rainforest and stem rising deforestation, in what
campaigners said was an historic moment that should help conserve
forests and counter climate change.
In their ruling on Thursday, 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.
It is clear, despite numerous international commitments,
regulations that the Colombian state has not efficiently addressed
the problem of deforestation in the Amazon, the supreme court
The ruling comes after a group of 25 young plaintiffs, ranging
in age from seven to 26, filed a lawsuit against the government in
January demanding it protect their right to a healthy
The plaintiffs had said the governments failure to stop the
destruction of the Amazon jeopardized their futures and violated
their constitutional rights to a healthy environment, life, food
Bogota-based rights group Dejusticia, which supported the
plaintiffs case, said the verdict meant it was the first time a
lawsuit of this kind had been ruled upon favorably in Latin
The Supreme Courts decision marks an historical precedent in
terms of climate change litigation, said Camila Bustos, one of the
plaintiffs and a researcher at Dejusticia.
In its ruling, the court recognized Colombias Amazon as an
entity subject of rights, which means that the rainforest has been
granted the same legal rights as a human being.
The ruling states the importance of protecting the rights of
future generations, and even declares the Amazon a subject of
rights, Bustos told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
The court ordered the government both at the local and national