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    August 09, 2020
    © Felix Narvaez for Amnesty International   By Nadino Calapucha, head of communications at COICA (Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon basin)   The Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon and across the Americas have centuries of experience facing deadly threats.

    For over 500 years we have faced invasions, the loss of our ancestral lands, ethnic and socioeconomic discrimination that has led to displacement, illnesses, death, and the constant threat of cultural and physical extermination.

    July 04, 2020

    These Shuar children would be among many at heightened risk of COVID-19 infection. Image via Pinterest


    Indigenous organizations claim that the government’s response to COVID-19 has been inadequate and ineffective so far.

    On 1 July, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon (CONFENIAE) reported that of 45% of 2,673 people tested, there emerged 1,215 confirmed and 622 suspected cases of COVID-19 in Indigenous Amazonian communities. They face a higher risk than most due to the scarcity of drinking water, food sources, medical supplies, health services and COVID-19 tests. An oil spill from 7 April and seasonal floods polluted the environment and food and water sources of many communities, increasing their risk of infection. Amnesty International calls on the president to urgently implement an action plan to protect them and guarantee full respect for their human rights.

    Please send a message to the president.

    April 12, 2020

    “Thank you Amnesty Canada! We thank you with all our hearts on behalf of Amazonian Women. We will continue to defend our forests, our territory, our rivers. By gathering all those signatures on petitions you have supported us.”

    This is the message that Kichwa Indigenous leader Salomé Aranda, Sarayaku leader Patricia Gualinga and Margoth Escobar sent us in a video (see below).

    Salomé, Patricia and Margoth are leaders of a collective of more than 100 mostly Indigenous women human rights defenders called Mujeres Amazónicas, Spanish for Amazonian Women. They face threats and armed attacks against themselves and their families as they seek to stop destructive oil and mining projects in the Amazon region of Ecuador.

    September 27, 2019

    Twelve countries across Latin America and the Caribbean have signed the Escazú Agreement in a major victory for the environment and human rights that should inspire the rest of the region to follow suit, said Amnesty International.

    Argentina, Antigua and Barbuda, Brazil, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Mexico, Panama, Peru, St. Lucia, and Uruguay all signed the treaty at the first opportunity today as the UN General Assembly started in New York, while the Dominican Republic and Haiti have also committed to signing in the coming hours.

    “The leadership of the dozen countries who signed the Escazú Agreement today should serve as inspiration for the rest of the region and beyond,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International. “We urge all other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean to promptly follow their example for the survival and wellbeing of current and future generations.” 

    April 29, 2019

    The Ecuadorian authorities’ capacity and will to adequately and effectively provide protection and conduct criminal investigations into the attacks and threats against Amazonian Women’s environmental defenders is placing their lives at risk, as well as those of others who are protecting the Amazon from political and economic interests linked to large-scale extractive projects on Indigenous territories, said Amnesty International in a new report published today.

    ‘They will not stop us’ Ecuador: Justice and protection for Amazonian Women, defenders of the land, territory and environment exposes the failings of the Ecuadorian Attorney General’s Office when responding to a series of attacks and death threats recorded in 2018 against Patricia Gualinga, Nema Grefa, Salomé Aranda and Margoth Escobar. The four women are members of Amazonian Women, a collective comprising dozens of Ecuadorian women defending the Amazonian environment and Indigenous Peoples’ rights.

    April 09, 2018
    Photo copyright: Zoë Tryon DOWNLOAD PDF HERE


    Patricia Gualinga is a leader of the Sarayaku Indigenous people. They live in the Amazon region of Ecuador.

    The Amazon has nearly 400 billion trees and the largest diversity of birds, fishes and animals in the world. It also has oil.

    Oil is a resource that powerful companies want to remove from the ground, and sell.

    The Sarayaku are very worried that drilling for oil could damage the environment on which they depend for their survival. Oil spills could contaminate their food and water.

    They have other reasons to be worried.

    A company from another country began taking oil from their lands without permission. The explosives the company used put the safety of the Sarayaku in danger.

    Patricia Gualinga and other community members have had to be brave to stand up against oil companies that threaten their territory and water.

    February 22, 2018
    Amnesty International publishes State of the World’s Human Rights report for 2017 to 2018 “Last year our world was immersed in crises, with prominent leaders offering us a nightmarish vision of a society blinded by hatred and fear. This emboldened those who promote bigotry, but it inspired far more people to campaign for a more hopeful future,” says Salil Shetty, head of Amnesty International

    The world is reaping the terrifying consequences of hate-filled rhetoric that threatens to normalize massive discrimination against marginalized groups, Amnesty International warned today as it launched its annual assessment of human rights.

    Nevertheless, the organization found that a growing movement of both first-time and seasoned activists campaigning for social justice provides real hope of reversing the slide towards oppression.

    The report, The State of the World’s Human Rights, covers 159 countries and delivers the most comprehensive analysis of the state of human rights in the world today.

    January 10, 2017

    Released 22 December 2016, 18:00 UTC

    On 21 December, officers from the National Police force forced their way into the Interprovincial Federation of Shuar and Achuar Centres facilities in Morona Santiago and arrested their leader Agustín Wachapá.

    His arrest comes in addition to a series of acts of violence, harassment and pressure from the state authorities towards members of the Shuar Indigenous Peoples’ community due to their opposition to a copper mining project in Morona Santiago.

    Along with the arrest of the defender Agustín Wachapá, on 20 December the Ministry of the Interior filed a complaint against the local organization Ecological Action Corporation (Corporación Acción Ecológica) accusing them of acts of violence after they published information on their social networks about the possible environmental impacts which mining activities in the zone would have and also highlighting the possible human rights violations which the project would involve.

    October 01, 2014

    By Lucia Hernandez, Campaigner in the Americas Program at Amnesty International.

    No one thought it would happen, but it has.

    After more than a decade of determined struggle for recognition of years of human rights abuses, members of the Indigenous People of Sarayaku in the Ecuadorian Amazon, will receive an official apology by the Ecuadorian State.

    The historic day is 1 October, when four Ministers (Justice, Environment, Defence and Non-Renewable Natural Resources) and the Attorney General will arrive at the Amazon region to apologize for the abuses that took place during the oil operations carried out by the company CGC in their territory from 2002 to 2003.

    In those years, company staff, accompanied by soldiers and private security guards, carried out detonations, cut down trees, dug more than 400 wells, buried more than 1.4 tons of high grade explosives and polluted the environment with the noise of helicopters. The State had given the company the concession to exploit oil in their territory without consulting or informing the community beforehand.

    July 25, 2013

    The government of Ecuador must do more to protect the human rights of the indigenous people of Sarayaku if it is to fully comply with an international court ruling said Amnesty International. A year ago today the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) ruled that Ecuador must apologize, consult with and recompense the Sarayaku people over an oil project which damaged their ancestral lands and put their lives at risk in the Amazon region in eastern Ecuador.

    “Although there has been some progress towards implementation, Ecuador’s government has yet to apologize to the people of Sarayaku or properly regulate the right to consultation. They must be given the right to free, prior and informed consent before projects in their territory go ahead,” said Guadalupe Marengo, Americas Program director at Amnesty International.

    “The government also needs to accelerate the safe removal of the 1.4 tons of high grade explosives that the oil company left in their land, in line with community wishes”.

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