Urgent: Ecuadorian Military Invades Sarayaku
- April 26, 2014
- FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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Translated by Amazon Watch
The leaders of the indigenous Kichwa indigenous community of Sarayaku condemn the assault and harassment of its people by the police and military forces in response to the sovereign decision of the VII Congress of Sarayaku to provide sanctuary in Sarayaku territory for Congressman Cléver Jimenez, journalist Fernando Villavicencio, and Dr. Carlos Figueroa, who are persecuted by the government despite having precautionary measures by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Commission.
Yesterday, April 24, just moments after the decision to provide sanctuary to the three companeros was made public, the military and police mobilized to the Amazon River Airport in the town of Shell, to control and inspect members of Sarayaku seeking to enter the territory. As well, military and police began harassing and inspecting Sarayaku inhabitants seeking to enter the territory via the Bobonaza River to attend the VII Congress.
Today, April 25, at approximately 5 pm, two helicopters landed at the river mouth of the Sarayakillo River; at 7:57 pm another helicopter hovered over Sarayaku territory, generating panic among its inhabitants, in particular children. "These actions constitute a flagrant violation of the rights of the Sarayaku people, and of the sentence of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that ruled in favor of our people," said Jose Gualinga, President (Tayak Apu) of Sarayaku.
As a people, we ratify the sacred decision taken at Sarayaku VII Congress. Anything that happens in Sarayaku will be the responsibility of the President of the Republic and its government. From this point on, Sarayaku is declaring a state of maximum alert and demands respect for our sovereign decisions. We are a land of peace; we defend Mother Earth, human rights, and nature.
We call upon national and international human rights organizations, as well as organizations of indigenous peoples and nationalities of Ecuador, to join in solidarity with the just cause of the Sarayaku. We ask that international observers intervene to avoid aggression, of which we are already being victimized.
Sr. José Gualinga
Tayak Apu (President of Sarayaku)