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30 Nov 2009

Jeremy Valeriote, Santiago Times [Chile]

Chile’s Supreme Court Upholds Indigenous Water Use Rights

Chile’s Supreme Court...handed down a landmark ruling on indigenous water rights in a case that pitted Region I Aymara communities against Agua Mineral Chusmiza, a company seeking the rights to bottle and sell freshwater from a source used historically by Aymara indigenous residents. The court ruled unanimously in favor of granting a water flow of 9 liters per second to Chusmiza and Usmagama communities. It applied Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization...The legal dispute had been festering for 14 years and centers on community water rights in one of the driest deserts on the planet...Luis Carvajal, director of the Aymara communities [said] “We cried, we sang, I can’t describe it…this is history"...The ruling’s potential impact on major industries such as mining could be far reaching, since water supply is an important factor in the feasibility of many mining projects.

Part of the following timelines

Chile: Supreme Court hands down “landmark” ruling in favour of indigenous communities’ water rights in case against company Agua Mineral Chusmiza

Agua Mineral Chusmiza lawsuit (re Chile)