In the first half of 2017, four rivers have been granted legal personhood status, that is, they have been granted the same legal rights as a juristic person. This includes the Whanganui River in New Zealand, the Ganges (Ganga) and Yamuna Rivers in India, and the Atrato River in Colombia.
The Earth Law Center is committed to achieving legal personhood for more rivers and waterways. In support of a campaign to establish rights for the Rio Magdalena and other rivers, ELC has developed a draft Universal Declaration of River Rights. The Declaration draws from victories for the rights of rivers worldwide as well as scientific understandings of healthy river systems.
1. Declares that all rivers are entitled to the fundamental rights set forth in this Declaration, which arise from their very existence on our shared planet,
2. Further declares that all rivers are living entities that possess legal standing in a court of law,
3. Establishes that all rivers shall possess, at minimum, the following fundamental rights:
(1) The right to flow; 
(2) The right to perform essential functions within its ecosystem; 
(3) The right to be free from pollution;
(4) The right to feed and be fed by sustainable aquifers;
(5) The right to native biodiversity; and
(6) The right to restoration, …
ELC is currently soliciting feedback on and endorsements of the Universal Declaration of River Rights.
Declaración Universal de los Derechos de los Ríos
Download the Universal Declaration of River Rights flyer in Spanish.