Stand with Amazonian Women!
- March 7, 2016
- Adam Zuckerman
Hundreds of indigenous women from the Ecuadorian Amazon are marching to protect nearly a million acres of their rainforest territory from an oil deal that Ecuador recently signed with Chinese state-owned oil company Andes Petroleum. The deal includes the territory of the Sápara indigenous people, a small threatened group of only 300 that has official recognition by UNESCO as an "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity." It also includes the territory of the Kichwa people of Sarayaku, who won a historic case in 2012 at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights when Ecuador facilitated the entry of another oil company into their territory without prior consultation.
Once again, instead of obtaining the consent of the communities as Ecuadorian and international law requires, the government waged a relentless campaign to divide the Sápara. Despite the government's false claims of community approval and attempts to create its own Sápara federation, the legitimate federation of the Sápara refuses to recognize any agreement for oil operations in their territory.
"The government has not conducted free, prior, and informed consultation as the Constitution requires," said Manari Ushigua, president of the Sápara Federation. "We reject and do not recognize what the government is doing. We do not accept oil extraction on our lands. We have the right to decide our own future and survival, and are carrying out projects that protect our territory and protect our planet from the impacts of climate change."
Both indigenous groups have condemned the deal and refuse to sacrifice their territory for what amounts to a few hours' worth of global oil supply.
The deal with Chinese state-owned oil company Andes Petroleum likely came from China's desire to recover the $25 billion it has loaned to Ecuador and by the government's desire to pay back those loans.
Please call your country's Chinese embassy now and ask them to insist that Andes Petroleum pull out of the contract. Please be respectful and remember that calls are in support of indigenous peoples and the Amazon, not anti-China.
How to contact the Chinese embassy in your country
Also, please send an email message to the Ecuadorian Minister of Strategic Sectors Rafael Poveda urging him to cancel the contract with Chinese oil company Andes Petroleum.
Thank you for taking action on behalf of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon and our global climate.