Shuar Community of Macuma Expels the Secretary of Hydrocarbons from Its Territory in Rejection of the Illegitimate Prior Consultation of Oil Blocks 74 and 75

Macuma, Ecuador – In the early hours of the morning some 150 people came to Antonio Samaniego High School, angry over the Secretary of Hydrocarbons (SHE)'s attempt to set up an "information desk" to carry out a prior consultation for oil operations in blocks 74 and 75. When they arrived, community members witnessed the government giving information to students about the licensing of said blocks, provoking anger from the children’s mothers. The government technicians tried to flee by taking refuge in the high school, while community members demanded explanations as to why the technicians were there and why their children were missing classes.

Faced with a lack of answers and clear information, community members blockaded the access road for hours with more and more people joining them from surrounding areas demanding that the Secretary of Hydrocarbons (SHE) sign an agreement to never again return to their territory and for the government to respect the people's decision to reject oil activity.

Immediately afterwards, 500 people took part in a special assembly to express their rejection of the illegitimate process of prior consultation undertaken by the SHE. In contrast with the government’s pseudo-consultation, in its assembly, the Shuar Nation of Ecuador (NASHE) gave the floor to the government to explain its goal to the people and then allowed indigenous associations and present communities to express their positions about oil activity, showing in practice how a prior consultation should be done and respecting the decision-making process and the legitimate leadership structure of indigenous communities, as Convention 169 of International Labor Organization (ILO) stipulates.

Over and over again the participants expressed their rejection of oil activity and of the illegitimate free, prior, and informed consultation, and demanded the immediate withdrawal of Secretary of Hydrocarbons' office of information. Upon taking the floor to address the assembly, Rafael Washicta, the President of the Shuar Nation of Ecuador (NASHE) declared:

"You have elected me to carry out the decisions of the Shuar base communities, and it is clear that we prohibit oil activity in our territory. We fight for the true harmonious living [penker pujustin in Shuar] for the Shuar Nation. The people have decided to leave the oil in the ground; we have declared ourselves an ecological province free from contamination. This is the will of the NASHE, the Interprovincial Federation of Shuar Communities (FICSH), the Achuar Nationality of Ecuador (NAE) and we will remain firm in that decision as long as our base communities continue to say it. Therefore, we declare null and void this attempt at consultation and demand that the SHE leave our territory immediately. We prohibit any new attempts to enter our communities."

The Shuar Nation of Ecuador (NASHE), affiliated with CONFENIAE and CONAIE, is made up of 80 communities and 11 associations, who in various congresses and assemblies have unanimously resolved that they are opposed to oil activity inside their territory of 76,000 hectares.

The events described above interrupted a workshop in which the base communities were having a dialogue with Tarimiat about harmonious living (buen vivir), coordinated by the Governing Board of the NASHE and the Autonomous Decentralized Government (GAD) of Morona Santiago.

Department of Communication of CONFENIAE/CONAIE:
Email: comunicacionconfeniae@gmail.com

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