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Legal Rights for Uruguay’s Whale and Dolphin Sanctuary: Progress Towards the First Marine Protected Area to Apply the Rights of Nature

Organization for the Conservation of Cetaceans (OCC-Uruguay) celebrated the 5th anniversary of the creation of Uruguay’s Whale and Dolphin Sanctuary which prohibits all harm and activities that may harm whales and dolphins within Uruguay’s exclusive economic zone.

Spokane, WA, November 02, 2018 --( Earth Law Center partners with OCC-Uruguay to protect the Sanctuary using a rights of nature legal framework. On Sunday, OCC-Uruguay’s anniversary event included public introduction of the campaign and the proposal to declare Legal Rights for the Sanctuary. Two deputies and the local mayor of Punta del Este were present and support the initiative.

This framework has been successfully applied in New Zealand (the Whanganui River, Te Urewera National Park and Mount Taranaki), in India (Narmada River) and in Colombia (Colombian Amazon, Pisba Highlands and Atrato River).

“Environmental laws have mostly failed. We need a new approach to protect nature, that places human beings as a part of nature, not owners of it. It is time to let the Whale and Dolphin Sanctuary’s voice be heard, and protect the biodiversity and beauty within,” said Rodrigo García co-founder and director of the OCC.

Mission Blue and the Sylvia Earle Alliance recently declared the Sanctuary a "Hope Spot" in recognition of its value as a safe haven for cetaceans, and importance to biodiversity and ocean health internationally.

Earth Law Center ( works to transform the law to recognize and protect nature’s inherent rights to exist, thrive and evolve. This includes advancing the inherent rights of rivers through initiatives with local partners to secure rights recognition.
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Michelle Bender

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