Reserva Los Cedros v. Ecuador

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In June 2020, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador agreed to hear a case brought by Los Cedros Reserve against the government on the grounds that its concessions for mining exploration and exploitation projects violate the Rights of Nature enshrined in the Ecuadorian constitution. The claimants are also arguing that the projects violate the legal status of the Los Cedros Protected Area, collective rights of indigenous peoples and the procedural rights of communities to prior consultation before potential environmental damage.

Background[edit]

Ecuador was the first nation to include the Rights of Nature in its constitution. Despite this, the national government has been promoting large-scale metal mining for years without respect for the national network of protected forests or Indigenous territories.[1]

Los Cedros protected forest in northwestern Ecaudor is one of the most biologically diverse habitats in the world, the headwaters of four important watersheds, and contains primary cloud forests.

In 2017, the Ecuadorian state announced new concessions for mining exploration. Many of these concessions are in previously protected forests and Indigenous territories. Canadian mining company Cornerstone Capital Resources was given a permit for gold mining in collaboration with the Ecuadorian state mining company, ENAMI. Mining concessions now cover 68% of Los Cedros Reserve.

The Los Cedros Protected Forest authorities challenged this permit in court. They won their case for an Action of Protection in the Provincial Court of Imbabura in June 2019, which stripped the mining company of their operating permits. The government, working alongside the mining companies, subsequently appealed against the decision.[2] In May 2020, the Constitutional Court of [{Ecuador]] agreed to hear an appeal.

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