ABSTRACT

The emergence of rights of nature is a clear response to the current environmental crisis. However, this trend does not emerge in isolation; it is accompanied by many human rights issues that are equally in need of address. This chapter will focus on one of the many possible points of encounter between the rights of nature and human rights. It will explore how they may be combined within biocultural rights—the basket of rights of indigenous peoples and local communities necessary to maintain their role as ecosystem stewards—and will try to understand what the consequences of combining nature and human interests as their foundations may be. In particular, the chapter will question: can biocultural rights be considered a satisfying and self-standing merge of indigenous peoples’ rights and the rights of nature? Or do they come with a price to be paid for such a sui generis conflation of interests? In order to put such analysis in context, the chapter will explore the Colombian Constitutional Court case on the Atrato River, which was the first case to explicitly mention biocultural rights.