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Justice, Environment, and Indigenous Peoples / A journey about democracy in the Americas

The Justice and Democracy Platform in the Americas carried out an intense program of activities in

Santiago, Chile. Activities organized in conjunction with the Law Faculties of the Central University of Chile and the University of Chile between Wednesday, November 29 and Friday, December 1, 2023.

After meeting with the chief Justice of the Chilean Supreme Court, the Right Honorable Juan Eduardo Fuentes Belmar, the first session was a discussion about Canadian Indigenous Peoples and the Mapuche people in Chile. This presentation was commented on by the Mapuche ́s lawyer, Elsy Curihuinca, and the expert in indigenous law Kathering Becerra, of the Universidad Católica del Norte. Both highlighted the richness of the Canadian experience in this area but the differences with the Chilean context. In that event, the Mapuche anthropologist, Carlos Contreras Painemal introduced his ideas about treaties celebrated between the Mapuches and Spain and the State of Chile after the independence. That discussion allowed the Platform to gather knowledge about the new developments in Chilean law and social sciences on the relationship between Indigenous peoples and the state under the framework of the new Chilean Constitution to be voted on December 17th, 2023.

The second day, a full day, was dedicated to the Seminar “Environmental Justice and Democracy,” bringing together legal theorists in the morning and environmental litigation and research NGOs from Canada, Chile, Colombia, and Mexico in the afternoon.

Nov 30. Seminar Environmental Justice and Democracy at the Central University of Chile

The next day, on 1 December, a small discussion group gathered at the Faculty of Law, University of Chile for the presentation of judge Richard Boivin, from the Canadian Federal Court of Appeal, on judicial independence in democracies. With focus on the process of judge appointment, relationship between the three government branches, and judicial governance and accountability, the participants were interested in comparing these topics between Canada, Chile, and more broadly, Latin America.

The day ended with a meeting with the Dean of the Faculty of Law, University of Chile, who indicated his intention to exchange institutional expertise with Canadian universities in the matter of academic freedom, an issue of growing concern across the continent.

Dec 1. Debate on Judicial Independence in democracies

Many thanks go to the organizers at the Faculty of Social Humanities and Legal Sciences of the Central University in Chile as well as those of the Faculty of Law of the University of Chile. Special thanks to Myllene Valenzuela, Sergio Fuenzalida, Ruben Burgos, and Alvaro Fuentealba.

Congratulations to the speakers from Latin American : Felipe Pino, ONG FIMA (Chile), Ariadna Mogollón, Fundación El Bajío, sección de Rema (México), Erika Castro Buitrago, u de Medellín, Raúl Campusano, U del Desarrollo.

We would also like to acknowledge the participation of our Canadian stakeholders, including:

Professors Thomas Burelli (uOttawa), Vinicius da Silva (uOttawa), Danielle Galant (Eco Justice) the Honorable Justice Richard Boivin (Federal Court of Appeal of Canada), the Honorable Michael Gort, Ambassador of Canada to Chile and Professor Pierre Gilles Bélanger (uOttawa).

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