Indigenous communities (Wayúu) filed a lawsuit against Colombian authorities and private companies due to the diversion of the Bruno River to conduct mining activities. Plaintiffs alleged violation of their fundamental rights to water, health, and food sovereignty.
The Constitutional Court found that authorities’ authorization of mining activities ignored the particular social and environmental conditions of the region (La Guajira). In particular, the Court reasoned that climate change has significantly impacted the region’s natural water supply. By failing to consider these climate change-related impacts, the defendants violated fundamental rights, especially those related to water supply. The Court underscored the relationship Wayúu communities have with water bodies in accordance with their worldviews. The risk posed by mining activities in a climate change-vulnerable region is of special importance and has the potential to cause significant harm.
The Court ordered, among other actions, the continuity of a working group to ensure fundamental rights are observed and protected. This group was also ordered to conduct a study that answers a number of questions posed by the Court, including those on the social and environmental impacts of the diversion of the Bruno River. The Court ordered the private company to begin mitigation, prevention, control, compensation, and correction measures to address project-related social and environmental impacts.
|11/28/2017||Judgment||Download||No summary available.|