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A sacred mountain & chatty robot: 5 things granted person-like protections (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

A sacred mountain & chatty robot: 5 things granted person-like protections (PHOTOS, VIDEO)
Human rights are largely considered fundamental standards for the treatment of people, guarding against slavery, illegal arrest and persecution. But some surprisingly non-human entities has recently been granted human-like status.

From a sacred mountain, to a holy river and a talkative robot, here are five things that have been granted rights similar to that of human beings.  

Mount Taranaki – New Zealand

The New Zealand government and eight local indigenous tribes signed a record of understanding in December, giving Mount Taranaki similar rights to a human being.

The 2,500 meter tall mountain is located in Egmont National Park, New Plymouth, and holds special significance to Maori peoples, who refer to it as an ancestor. Treaty Negotiations Minister Andrew Little said the move provides the mountain with more protection, similar to those already afforded to two New Zealand rivers.

“The legal personality requirement recognises the mountain’s status in a similar approach taken with Te Urewera and Te Awa Tupua Whanganui River as all Crown-owned land within the National Park will be vested in a legal personality,”Little said.


Sophia the robot – Saudi Arabia

A humanoid named Sophia became the first-ever robot citizen in October, when it was granted the honor in Saudi Arabia. Sophia’s new found status was announced at the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh, where the bot stated her ‘pride’ at being upgraded to the position.

“I am very honored and proud for this unique distinction,” she said. “This is historical to be the first robot in the world to be recognized with citizenship.”

Himalayan glaciers – India

The High Court of Uttarakhand gave the Gangotri and Yamunotri glaciers the same legal rights as a person earlier this year. Located in the Himalayas, the two freshwater resources have been receding for decades.

According to officials from the State of Uttarakhand, the move is an attempt to “uphold the status of these bodies and also to promote their health and well being.”

Ganges River – India

Similar to the Himalayan glaciers, the Uttarakhand High Court also granted India’s sacred River Ganges legal status similar to that of a person in March.

Meandering through 29 cities, the river is one of the most polluted bodies of water on the planet. Providing the river with rights tantamount to a human’s was seen as a step towards reclaiming the holy water from sewage and waste. However, the decision by Uttarakhand officials was eventually overturned by India’s Supreme Court.


Cecilia the chimpanzee – Argentina

A chimpanzee named Cecilia was freed from Argentina’s Mendoza Zoo – once home to the ‘world’s saddest’polar bear – after a judge granted a habeas corpus against the animal’s confinement.

The case was brought by the Association of Professional Lawyers for Animal Rights, which described the recognition of Cecilia’s right to live outside an isolated enclosure as a “landmark” ruling. Cecilia arrived at the Great Apes Sanctuary in Brazil last April, where she is now able to spend time with other chimpanzees.

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