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Ecuador: Authorities and companies threaten the Amazon and its Indigenous Peoples

Legislation, policies and extractive projects without consent have affected Indigenous territories

Authorities and companies in Ecuador threaten the Amazon through legislation, policies and extractive projects (mainly oil and mining) that have not obtained the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples or that have affected their territories, environment, health, water or food, Amnesty International said today, as it released the report Ecuador: Amazon at risk.

“Ecuador must guarantee the consent of Indigenous Peoples to legislation, policies and projects that may put their existence at risk. The Amazon is also a critical ecosystem for overcoming the climate crisis that threatens all life on our planet, and Indigenous Peoples have protected it for centuries. We cannot turn our backs on them,” said Fernanda Doz Costa, deputy director of research for the Americas at Amnesty International.

In this regard, the organization welcomed the victory of the A’i Cofán community of Sinangoe before the Constitutional Court on 27 January 2022. In its ruling, which has not yet been complied with by the relevant authorities, the Court confirmed that the state had violated the community’s “rights to prior consultation, to nature, to water, to a healthy environment, to culture and to territory” by granting 20 mining concessions without their consent and processing 32 others that affected their territory. In addition, the Court ordered comprehensive reparation measures for the community.

Ecuador must guarantee the consent of Indigenous Peoples to legislation, policies and projects that may put their existence at risk

Fernanda Doz Costa, deputy director of research for the Americas at Amnesty International

In addition, the authorities have yet to promptly, thoroughly, and impartially investigate the oil spills that occurred on 7 April 2020 and 28 January 2022 in the Amazon, establish the relevant administrative and criminal responsibilities, and guarantee truth, justice and reparation for the affected communities.

This year the Constitutional Court is expected to rule on the sentences issued in the case of the oil spill of 7 April 2020, and on the extraordinary protection action filed by the affected communities.

In this report – presented in the context of Ecuador’s Universal Periodic Review before the UN Human Rights Council this year – Amnesty International also analyses the excessive restrictions in the law regulating abortion in cases of rape; the lack of a policy to protect human rights defenders and investigate attacks and threats against them; and impunity for human rights violations committed during the protests of October 2019.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Duncan Tucker at: [email protected]