Sarayaku to Their Allies: "Thank You"

For well over a decade the Kichwa indigenous people of Sarayaku (Ecuadorian Amazon) have been fighting off the encroachment of oil exploration within their lands. Amazon Watch has been proud to accompany their struggle, in collaboration with many other individuals and organizations within Ecuador and around the world. In the wake of the historic sentence coming forth from the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, our colleagues in Sarayaku issued the following expression of appreciation for all the solidarity they have felt over the years. We would note that the need to stand with Sarayaku is not over – implementation of the Court's sentence will likely be a long campaign, and the impending 11th Round oil auction throughout the Ecuadorian Amazon threatens many surrounding indigenous communities.

To all the friends and allies of Sarayaku:

We are women and men, defenders of life and human rights, guardians of mother nature, eternal protectors of Kawsak Sacha, the living jungle, watchers of the planetary balance and a force behind a new paradigm of economic development that contributes to Sumak Kawsay (harmonious life).

We would like to appreciate all the fraternal help that – during this long process of struggle and resistance – we have received from different sectors of society: intellectuals, members of the diplomatic corps, communicators, lawyers, philosophers, artists, politicians, educational institutions, foundations, associations, NGOs, regional governments, and all the people around the world who have felt called to dedicate their time and lives to the defense of human rights, of indigenous peoples, and of the environment. Your accompaniment and solidarity has been permanent and untiring.

We send our deep appreciation to you who have been friends from the beginning and forever. Thank you to those who have already sent your congratulations, sharing with us the recognition of this historic sentence.

We hope to have contributed a small grain of sand for the peoples that suffer the terrible consequences of the extractive policies of an economic system that violates their rights. One people, one society, one world is not built alone – it requires women and men of courage and dignity, willing to search for change and to push forward a true democracy and justice.

Together for life!

Sarayaku Lives

In name of the Kichwa First People of Sarayaku

José Gualinga
Tayak Apu
President of Sarayaku

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