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OAS Goodwill Ambassadors on Environmental Justice


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OAS Goodwill Ambassadors on Environmental JusticeThe Organization of American States (OAS) presented an initiative to strengthen the role of the judiciary in the protection of the environment, which included the designation of four representatives of the Supreme Courts of the region as Goodwill Ambassadors for Environmental Justice in the Americas.

The initiative led by the OAS is called "Caring for our Common Home from the Judiciary: Guaranteeing More Rights for More People in the Americas." In addition to the designations announced today, the project includes the training of judges in environmental material, the development of an operating model for the judiciary, and developing a portal on environmental rule of law in the Americas.

The designated judges are:

S.E. Antonio Herman Benjamin
H.E. Antonio
Herman Benjamin

Minister, High Court of Brazil
President, World Commission
on Environmental Law, IUCN

S.E.Ricardo Lorenzetti
H.E. Ricardo Lorenzetti

Minister President
Supreme Court
of Argentina

S.E. Sergio Muñoz
H.E. Sergio Muñoz

Supreme Court
of Chile

Justice and the Environment:  An Indispensable Link

It took the population of the Matanza-Riachuelo region, in Argentina, over 200 years to have its right to live in a healthy and clean environment validated.  Slaughterhouses, salteries, refrigerated warehouses, tanneries, and petrochemical plants located nearby caused the pollution to rise making it practically impossible to breathe on its banks, which lacked sewage and waste collection systems.

In the mid-1800s, health authorities had already noted that there was no organic life in the Riachuelo’s waters, which gave an indication on the high levels of pollution at that time. In 2004, the river basin’s issue was brought to the courts on the initiative of a small group of La Villa’s residents who filed a lawsuit demanding environmental sanitation.

In July 2008, the National Supreme Court of Justice issued a ruling that condemned for damages and prejudices the national State, the province, the city of Buenos Aires, as well as 44 surrounding businesses for dumpling directly into the river their hazardous waste ...

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