On January 12, 2024, the International Rights of Nature Tribunal held its 11th Local Court in the Biobío region of Chile, focusing on Rights of Nature violations arising from Chile’s destructive forestry model and the devastating forest fires of 2023. The verdict declared the impacts caused by the current Chilean forestry model as ecocide, and that the forestry model violates the rights of Nature. The Tribunal underlined the urgent need to reform forestry policies in Chile, highlighting the demands of Indigenous and local communities who have directly suffered the devastating consequences of this model. The verdict singled out forestry companies such as Arauco and CMPC, Chile’s largest, as responsible for such environmental destruction, and urged the State of Chile to recognize the Rights of Nature in its internal regulations, as the only way for humanity and biodiversity to survive.
The International Tribunal for the Rights of Nature is an international institution created by citizens to investigate violations of the Rights of Nature. The Tribunal creates a forum for people globally to speak on behalf of Nature and protest its destruction. The Tribunal makes conflicts and their actors visible and makes legal recommendations on the protection and restoration of the Earth. Alliance for the Defense of the Rights of Nature of the Biobío River (various organizations in Chile) were the petitioners of the Tribunal. Enrique Viale (Argentina) presided over the hearing, and judges included Claudio Donoso (Chile), Antonio Elizalde (Chile), Jacqueline Arriagada (Chile), Lucio Cuenca (Chile), and Karina Riquelme (Chile).