(Indigenous) Land and water rights in Chile
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Since 2009, the Chilean Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court have produced a rapidly evolving and extremely interesting jurisprudence regarding indigenous land and water rights, as well as the (related) right to consultation. In late 2009, the Chilean Supreme Court recognized the “ancestral water rights” of the Aymara indigenous community Chusmiza y Usmagama, basing its arguments on arts.13.2 and 15.1 of the ILO Convention 169 (indigenous land as “habitat”, which thus also includes watercourses). In the same period, the Chilean Supreme Court condemned the logging company Sociedad Palermo Itda for damages to Mapuche sacred sites and thus adversely affecting the practice of traditional medicine (arts.13-14 of ILO Convention 169). In mid-2010, the Court of Appeal of Valdivia found the Environmental National Commission guilty of waste disposal in an area contiguous to Mapuche lands and the consequent destruction of ceremonial grounds by also mentioning art.25 of the UNDRIP. The Supreme Court upheld this case the following January 2011. In late 2014, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Peasant Community Diaguita of Huascoaltinos against the Environmental Evaluation Commission of the third region (Atacama), which had authorized the construction of an open-pit gold and copper mine on 2,463 hectares of land (including large parts of indigenous territories) without any (due) consultation with the affected indigenous peoples.