On Friday, March 30th, the Chilean Supreme Court decided their second case in a month where they ordered consultation with Indigenous peoples. The case came out of northern Chile where Aymara communities sought to stop prospective drilling occurring on their territories. Ultimately, the Court ordered the company Compañía Paguanta S.A. to halt its actions until an environmental impact study is performed and the Aymara people are consulted as is required by ILO Convention 169.
The Supreme Court’s decision was unanimous and based on both environmental laws and ILO Convention 169, which Chile ratified in 2008. Convention 169 establishes a variety of rights for Indigenous peoples, including the right to consultation when development projects are taking place on their traditional lands. In this case, the Court stated that the project was started before proper consultation had taken place and ordered that the rights outlined in Convention 169 must be respected before the project can move forward.
For additional analysis on the Supreme Court’s recent decisions about consultation — including a look at the pros and cons of what they have laid out in their legal reasoning — check out our latest article for “I Love Chile News,” located here.