New Zealand River Given Legal ‘Human’ Status

by admin on March 16, 2017

Whanganui River is located in North Island of the country

A river in the North Island of New Zealand has been granted human legal rights reports BBC.

The bill was passed by the parliament and comes as a victory for the Maori people who have been fighting for the Whanganui River to be considered as a living entity.

New Zealand’s Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson told the BBC, “I know the initial inclination of some people will say it’s pretty strange to give a natural resource a legal personality. But it’s no stranger than family trusts, or companies or incorporated societies.”

The Whanganui River is New Zealand’s third longest river and will be represented by one member from the Maori tribes and one from the Crown.

The river can now be represented during court proceedings.

According to the report, “Members of the Maori community celebrated the news with tears and music in New Zealand’s parliament.”

“The river as a whole is absolutely important to the people who are from the river and live on the river,” said A Maori representative. “From a Whanganui viewpoint the wellbeing of the river is directly linked to the wellbeing of the people and so it is really important that’s recognised as its own identity.”

This is the first river in the world to be given legal human status.

Read more here

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