Ecuadorian State to Recognize Its Responsibility by Asking Forgiveness of the Sarayaku People

Quito, Ecuador – On Wednesday, October 1st, four Ecuadorian Ministers and the Attorney General will travel to the community of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon to carry out a Public Act of Recognition and Responsibility. The government officials will ask the Kichwa first nation of Sarayaku for forgiveness given the human rights violations committed against them during the oil operation carried out by the company CGC in block 23 from 2002 to 2003.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights required this event in their sentence issued on June 27th, 2012. The Court found the Ecuadorian state guilty of violating the rights to communal property, prior consultation, cultural identity, and judicial protection. The state was also guilty of having put at serious risk the life and integrity of all the members of Sarayaku.

Félix Santi, Tayak Apu (President) of Sarayaku stated that, "For Sarayaku, this act is the ratification that we were always justified in opposing the entry of the oil industry into our territory." He continued, "Our people hope that the state's apology is sincere and that there's a real guarantee that the abuses we suffered in our territory won't be repeated."

For his part, Mario Melo, lawyer for Sarayaku, stated, "This is a transcendental moment in the history of Latin America's indigenous movement. That a state would travel all the way to an indigenous community to recognize its responsibility and apologize for damages committed show that Sarayaku's efforts to sustain their case for a decade before international courts has born fruit."

The following authorities are anticipated to attend the act: Minister of Justice, Minister of Environment, Minister of Defense, Minister of Non-Renewable Natural Resources, and Attorney General of Ecuador.

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