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If a Tree Falls in Chile, Now the Whole World May Hear It

On May 6, 1998, three activists in Chile asked their government what it had done to comply with national law requiring environmental review before approving a $200-million logging project in Tierra del Fuego. The activists wanted to know whether the national Foreign Investment Committee had seen any evidence that the project would use environmentally sustainable practices. After years of review, The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled this month that the activists were entitled to receive the information. It is the first time an International Court has recognized that citizens have a general right of access to information held by government. It may change the world.

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