Sarayaku Press Statement on Inter-American Court Sentence


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Sarayaku, Ecuador – Today, Wednesday, July 25, 2012, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights announced its decision in the case that we filed against the State of Ecuador in in 2003.

In the decision, the court declared that the Ecuadorian state is responsible under international law for the violation of the Sarayaku people's rights to prior consultation, communal property, life, judicial protection, and other important rights. This decision, which comes after a decade-long fight, recognizes Sarayaku's claims of human rights abuses.

In the decision, the court ruled that the Sarayaku people must be consulted, adequately and effectively, in accordance with applicable international standards, prior to the development of natural resource exploration or extraction projects, investment plans, or any other action that potentially affects Sarayaku territory or essential aspects of its cultural identity. In the case of Saramaka v. Surinam, the court established a standard of free, prior and informed consent when large-scale projects can adversely affect the rights and territory of Indigenous peoples.

Sarayaku welcomes this victory, gained through the efforts of its people and the support of allied people and organizations committed to the rights of Indigenous peoples. Sarayaku will be closely monitoring compliance with this sentence and we will ensure that Indigenous peoples' territories will be respected in the face of damaging extractive industries such as oil drilling.

Long live Sarayaku and the Indigenous people of the continent.

José Gualinga
President of Sarayaku

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