Alternate Title

Granting Rights to Rivers in the Shadow of Extractivism


Rights to Nature, Social and Economic Rights, Atrato River, Colombian Constitutional Court, Extractivism


In Colombia, the Atrato River, situated in the region of Chocó, was granted rights in a 2016 ruling. More than ten other rivers have been granted rights in the following years. This judicial intervention has been influenced by other jurisdictions where rights have been granted to rivers like New Zealand and India. The article situates itself within this trend by providing a more granular, local context. In particular, the goal is to foreground the structural characteristics—specifically the historical, economic, and social centrality of extractivism—within which granting rights to nature takes place. The final objective will be to explore the possibilities and limitations this style of judicial intervention provides.



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