ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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We Are the River, the River Is Us

As per the recent ruling of the Uttarakhand High Court, the Ganga and Yamuna rivers have rights as a “juristic/legal person/living entity.” It raises a complex set of questions. What does it mean for a river, and its associated natural elements, to have rights? What does it mean for them to have rights as a “person?” How would such rights be implemented, given that rivers and other elements of nature would not be able to claim and defend such rights for themselves? What implications do these two decisions have for not just the rivers and those living in/on/along them, but for the relationship between humans and the rest of nature? This article addresses these questions in order to find solutions.

Rivers and Human Rights: We are the River, the River is Us?

As per the recent ruling of the Uttarakhand High Court, the Ganga and Yamuna rivers have rights as a “juristic/legal person/living entity.” It raises a complex set of questions. What does it mean for a river, and its associated natural elements, to have rights? What does it mean for them to have rights as a “person?” How would such rights be implemented, given that rivers and other elements of nature would not be able to themselves claim and defend such rights? What implications do these two decisions have for not just the rivers and those living in/on/along them, but for the relationship between humans and the rest of nature? This study addresses these questions in order to find solutions.
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