Colombia’s constitutional court has revoked all mining licenses granted to companies that wanted to carry out mining activities in one of the South Americans paramos, according to local media.
The court order undoes part of the government’s National Development Plan, which had already banned the granting of new mining licenses in paramos, but kept 347 existing licenses in tact.
However, the court nullified the article protecting previously granted licenses and ordered an absolute and immediate end to mining activity in the paramos, some of Colombia’s most important ecosystems.
Article 173 of the National Development Plan had been challenged by leftist opposition party Democratic Pole, which claimed the protection of Colombia’s nature supersedes private mining interests.
The court also revoked an article that prevented displaced victims of the country’s 51-year-long armed conflict from claiming land that had been stolen and later were converted to so-called Projects of Strategic National Interest.
The National Development Plan initially prioritized these projects over the state’s obligation to return land to the approximately 7 million Colombians who have been displaced, often with the intention to steal their land.
However, according to the court this goes against the constitutional rights of the displaced victims.
Additionally, the court revoked a third article that allowed the government to forcibly expropriate privately-owned land for mega projects.