The Atrato River is located in the Choco region, and it is Colombia’s mightiest river. Being navigable, it contends with a considerable amount of activity. For many years, it has been used for illegal mining, which has led the river to a critical point of contamination
In 2016, the Constitutional Court of Colombia issued the judgment T-622, in response to the writ of amparo filed by Tierra Digna, an association representing the communities surrounding the Atrato River. The court ruled in favor of the protection of the fundamental rights to a dignified life, to integrity, the environment, and the health of the communities. The court also ordered a series of measures of affirmative action to achieve decontamination, and ensure the continued existence of the Atrato River.
This judgment is the third in the world, following court rulings from New Zealand and India, to have recognized a river as a subject of rights. It brings forward a change towards an eco-centered perspective, and interesting modifications to the juridical order.
This case represents the core of the investigation for one of the partners, the Faculty of Law at the University of Montreal, under the supervision of Yenny Vega Cardenas and Nathalia Parra Meza.
The Santurban Paramo is located in the department of Santander in Colombia. The region contains important gold deposits, in a highly fragile ecosystem. The Paramo also contains the principal source of potable water in the metropolitan area of Bucaramanga, main city of the department.
Eco Oro Minerals Corp., a company from Ontario, Canada, is present in the region with the Angostura Mining Project. This initiative involves 8 mining projects covering a total area of 30,000 hectares. It has generated an important number of demonstrations in the city, in addition to constitutional and judicial demands, the request for revocation of the projects for areas recently included in the Paramo.
This case will be the primary source of research for the Industrial University of Santander, member of the partnership. The Population, Environment, and Development Research Groups (GPAD), and Politeia will carry out the study, under the supervision of professors Raquel Mendez Villamizar and Pedro Garcia Obando.
Communities in Mining Activity
Participation of Local Authorities and Communities in Mining Activity in Colombia.
The mining industry in Colobia faces an intense debate on the scope of participation of the territorial authorities in the mining activity, taking into account the new interpretations of the Constitutional Court regarding the principles of Unitary State and the Territorial Autonomy. This project seeks to identify lines of legal action to ensure the compatibility of the application and respect of these constitutional principles with the viable execution of the mining principles.
This case will be the primary source of research for the Department of investigation Mining and Energy Law, Universidad del Externado, under the supervision of Luis Ferney Moreno and Milton Fernando Montoya.