The Páramo Santurbán in Santander, Colombia, is a mountain range facing an existential crisis. Its summit, home to a water source of utmost importance in supporting ecological diversity, must be protected from the exploitation of the mineral resources that lie there.
The main economic activity in the region is artisanal mining. A small percentage of the population is involved in other activities, such as agriculture and farming. There are approximately 65 business licences currently in operation, most of which are Canadian.
The existence of an international arbitration dispute before the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) has led to obvious social disintegration. This is only one of several crises that deserve to be mentioned, as it has a significant impact on the protection of the environment and the rights of future generations to a healthy environment.
From this perspective, the recognition of Páramo Santurbán as a subject of law would ensure that future decisions are not only taken for the benefit of human beings beings or the economy, but also for the protection of Nature and therefore future generations. Such a recognition would also make it possible to claim reparation and compensation for the damage directly related to Nature.
OIDN is working to identify the legal arguments necessary to file a complaint in front of the Colombian courts to request the application of the precedent established by the Constitutional Court in Decision T-622 of 2017, which recognized that a river is a subject of law.