A Tribunal for Earth: WHY IT MATTERS

by Cormac Cullinan

Imagine how different the world would be if courts decided on the legitimacy – or otherwise – of human conduct on the basis of whether or not it was in the best interests of the whole community of life. Imagine if there were an international tribunal that concerned itself with the fundamental rights of all beings, including humans, and decided matters on the basis of what was best for the Earth community as a whole, regardless of politics; an Earth Tribunal of respected individuals that drew on the wisdom of humanity as a whole, respected the laws of Nature and was not beholden to governments or corporations.

The establishment of the International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature is intended to give effect to this dream. This bold venture by the members of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature is a creative response to the current impasse at the international level which has led to a widening chasm between what global civil society wants to be done and what governments are willing to agree to and implement.

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“We the people assume the authority to conduct an International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature. We will investigate cases of environmental destruction, which violate the Rights of Nature,” declared Prosecutor for the Earth Ramiro Avila during the opening of the world’s first Tribunal on the Rights of Nature and Mother Earth.  The Tribunal held its inaugural session on Friday, January 17, 2014, in Quito, Ecuador.

Dr. Vandana Shiva, internationally renowned author, philosopher, and environmental activist presided over the historic Tribunal together with nine other distinguished judges from seven countries and five continents. Dr. Shiva presented the closing ruling to admit all nine cases of alleged violations of the Universal Declaration of the Rights of Mother Earth, adopted in Cochabamba on April 20, 2010, and, with respect to the Ecuadorian cases, violations of the Ecuadorian Constitution. Since its inception, the Tribunal has been and will continue to be, a permanent platform for hearing and judging rights of Nature cases from around the world.

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Cases Around The World

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International Rights of Nature Tribunal

Yasuni ITT Case

International Rights of Nature Tribunal

Condor Mirador Mine Case

International Rights of Nature Tribunal

British Petroleum Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Case

International Rights of Nature Tribunal Lima, Peru ~ December 2014 Esparanza Martinez presents ...
International Rights of Nature Tribunal

Chevron/Texaco Case

The Ecuadorian government concessioned a land area of ​​approximately 1,431,430 acres to the Gulf Texaco Consortium to explore and extract ...
International Rights of Nature Tribunal

Defenders of Nature and Mother Earth Case

International Rights of Nature Tribunal

Climate Change Case

International Rights of Nature Tribunal

Trade agreements and their implications on nature

Expert witnesses from Canada, Germany, South Africa and Puerto Rico testified that Free Trade ...
International Rights of Nature Tribunal

Almeria – Water Deprivation

The case concerns the abstractions of huge quantities of water from aquifers in the Almeria region of Spain ...

International Rights of Nature Tribunal

Solar Energy

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Photo Gallery

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Our Volunteers

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Community Statements

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Although the framework of the Rights of Nature is, among indigenous peoples and traditional cultures, everywhere, in our modern world there has been such repetition of the market economy and of our purpose on this world being, to be in search of jobs, and in search of a sacred market economy, so much so that we have forgotten, we don’t hear enough about these different frameworks.
International Rights of Nature Tribunal
Atossa Soltani
We find ourselves here today reflecting on the fact that we have violated the Rights of Nature. But the Rights of Nature are nothing in themselves. They are something that we see in Nature. The Rights of human beings, for that matter, are nothing in themselves. They are something that we accept and concede in order to coexist. The real issue is that we coexist with Nature, and the Rights of Nature appear because we care about this coexistence.
International Rights of Nature Tribunal
Humberto Maturana
Lithium Mining, or the “Mining of Water,” as it’s been called. They call it the Mining of Water because there’s no other commercial way to do it, other than by evaporating large quantities of water. And in Atacama you get this paradox, of the evaporation of thousands of litres of water, for lithium mining, in a desert, in one of the driest areas on earth. It truly is a sacrifice zone. And in this case, a sacrifice, it would seem, on the altar of the energy exchange of the Global North.
International Rights of Nature Tribunal
Enrique Viale