To date, four rivers have been granted legal personhood status. This includes the Whanganui River in New Zealand, the Ganges and Yamuna Rivers in India, and the Atrato River in Colombia. The Earth Law Center has been central to these rivers gaining rights and is committed to achieving legal personhood for more rivers and waterways.
In support of establishing rights for all rivers, the Earth Law Center along with experts worldwide have developed a draft of the Universal Declaration of River Rights. The Declaration draws from victories for the rights of rivers worldwide, as well as scientific understandings of healthy river systems.
Here is a small excerpt from the declaration which gives parameters for the most basic of rights for our rivers.
Item (3) Establishes that all rivers shall possess, at minimum, the following fundamental rights:
(1) The right to flow;
(2) The right to perform essential functions within its ecosystem;
(3) The right to be free from pollution;
(4) The right to feed and be fed by sustainable aquifers;
(5) The right to native biodiversity; and
(6) The right to restoration,
The foreword of the document is elegant, simple and truthful, and the enumerated rights, 9 of them,straight to the point. This is a 3 page document that all of us can use to help guide us in participating in the health and protection of our local waterways.
The Organization of Nature Evolutionaries supports the actions taken by the Earth Law Center to establish the right to thrive for all rivers and encourages each of us to stand with our Rivers of Life.